TMS AND TREATMENT OF PAIN
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation has been shown to have a rapid therapeutic onset for treating various neural disorders with extremely mild or no side effects. TMS is a safe and effective treatment modality that works by using electromagnets to stimulate specific parts of the brain. Because human brain is an electrical organ that functions through transmitting electrical signals from one nerve cell to another, TMS therapy can stimulate neurons to restore them back to normal functioning.
“Non-invasive unilateral repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the motor cortex induces analgesic effects in focal chronic pain syndromes, probably by modifying central pain modulatory systems. Neuroimaging studies have shown bilateral activation of a large number of structures, including some of those involved in pain processing, suggesting that such stimulation may induce generalized analgesic effects.” (Passard et. al, 2007)
“All the various components of pain were relieved by rTMS: mostly the spontaneous pain, but also paroxysms and allodynia were concomitantly alleviated. Therefore, the use of rTMS alone is devoid of interest to manage patients with chronic pain in long term, but it could allow these patients to wait for surgical implantation with a good level of pain control, which could not be offered by analgesic drugs. Moreover, rTMS response could be a useful indicator of the success of the subsequent surgical procedure…In conclusion, motor cortex rTMS may be clinically useful in the management of chronic, drug-resistant pain to maintain a satisfactory level of pain relief in selected patients until the implantation of a cortical stimulator.” (Lefaucher et. al, 2004)
“Fibromyalgia syndrome is a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder. Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons—the soft fibrous tissues in the body. Most patients say that they ache all over. Their muscles may feel like they were pulled or overworked. Sometimes the muscles twitch and other times they burn.” (Fibromyalgia Network, 2007)
- Approximately 3% to 6% of the population suffers from fibromyalgia.
- More women than men are afflicted with fibromyalgia (75% versus 25%) and it shows up in people of all ages.
- Persons suffering from fibromyalgia may be genetically predisposed to the syndrome
- Signs of symptoms can be traced back to childhood for most sufferers
- May be linked to myofascial pain syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, hypoglycemia and various genitourinary symptoms
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Individuals afflicted with fibromyalgia experience “flare-ups” and symptom variation from day to day
- Persons may experience extended periods of remission, followed by short or long-term flares
- Patients may suffer from a mild, idiopathic form of the disease or a more somatoform type resulting from depression
- Signs of fibromyalgia include:
Sensitivity to touch
Overall pain and tenderness
Tingling and aching sensations
Muscle spasms, nerve pain and weak limbs
Cognitive “fog” or feeling of being overwhelmed
*At this time, TMS is not FDA-approved for the treatment of post-stroke recovery, which would be considered an off-label application.