Depression is so painful that people suffering with it often want nothing more than to feel better. With TMS being an increasingly popular method of treating depression, people want to know, “Is TMS painful?”. We will explore this question in detail, carefully explaining the procedure so you can better understand the immense benefits people get from TMS.
Does TMS Hurt?
For the majority of patients, TMS does not hurt. During a TMS treatment session, energy from a magnetic field (created by using electrical energy passing through a coil of wires) is transferred into the patient’s brain. Magnetic energy passes easily through skin and skull, activating the brain painlessly. During the treatment session, you are seated in a reclined, conformable chair. You are fully awake and alert and you can talk during the treatment. The tapping sensation produced by the coil on your scalp can be mildly uncomfortable, especially during the first few sessions. Over time, the scalp desensitizes to the tapping sensation of the magnetic coil the discomfort subsides and usually goes away. Also, adjustments can be made in coil positioning and stimulation settings to reduce discomfort. Pain and discomfort can be eliminated with over-the-counter analgesic medications like Tylenol, ibuprofen, or aspirin, all of which are safe to take either before or after having TMS treatments.
What Are the Risks and Side Effects of TMS?
TMS is Safer Than Other Depression Treatments
In comparison to other treatments for depression, TMS is extremely well tolerated, with an aforementioned minority of patients experiencing minor discomfort during initial treatments and only 5 percent of volunteers in a TMS clinical trial dropping out due to adverse effects. At Mid City TMS, we have never had a patient discontinue TMS treatments due to discomfort or other adverse effects. TMS is extremely safe and does not have any of the side effects common with traditional antidepressant medications, such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, sedation, nausea, or dry mouth. TMS is also an especially appealing treatment option because patients don’t experience the antidepressant withdrawal that can often happen when discontinuing antidepressant medications.
The Rare Side Effects of TMS
Like any treatment, TMS is not always without side effects, however uncommon they might be. Besides mild scalp discomfort, some of the other rare side effects associated with TMS include dizziness and lightheadedness and tingling of facial muscles. Headaches are the most common side effect; they are generally mild and, like the other side effects, usually go away as you progress with your treatment course. Patients are always alert during the TMS session and able to get themselves home or back to work immediately after each session.
How Do I Find Out If TMS Is Right For Me?
You can review all of the information available on our website. We also encourage you to contact us to discuss whether TMS is an effective and appropriate treatment method for your depression. Our kind and caring staff is ready to walk you through our process along with any other questions you might have. Call Mid City TMS today at 212-517-1867 or email us at [email protected].