Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Helps Relieve Depression and Pain In Fibromyalgia


Fibromyalgia patients are three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression. According to a clinical trial published on, daily sessions of TMS over a period of four weeks improved depression in patients who could not find relief in medications. In two other separate studies, fibromyalgia patients who undergone regular TMS treatments found relief in pain and experienced better quality of life.

Learn how TMS work for fibromyalgia patients and if you are suitable for TMS treatment…


What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and How Does It Work?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a procedure that stimulates the brain’s nerve cells to reduce the level or severity of depression one suffers. It is done using magnetic fields.

Up till date, there is no scientific explanation on how TMS relieves depression. However, it is generally understood that the TMS works by stimulating the nerve cells in the areas where the brain controls mood. As the magnetic fields enter the brain during a TMS treatment, they generate small electrical currents that activate the inactive brain cells and help release brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, which jointly help reduce depression symptoms.

Though the exact workings of this therapy are still unknown to many, yet research on it is plenty. In fact, the Cochrane Review points to one particular study in which 14 TMS sessions were conducted over a 21 week period to test for fibromyalgia. The test suggest that fibromyalgia sufferers can experience reduction of pain and better quality of life in the long run.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Related Studies

In an international trial, published on, a group of depressed patients who found no relief from medication improved dramatically after four weeks of daily sessions of TMS, each lasting for 40 minutes. After another two-week period, the rate of depression relief doubled.

In yet another study, the researcher found that no longer is fibromyalgia seen as a mental problem but one that has physical causes and include mood issues. He piloted a study that used TMS to treat patients of fibromyalgia and improve their quality of life. He found that not only did their pain and fatigue reduce to a great extent but also their depression. This was done by targeting those parts of the brain that are related to pain and emotional and social wellbeing.

Why Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Who are Suitable for It?

Why it is done: Though depression is treatable, standard treatments often don’t work for those who are affected. TMS may be used when treatments like psychotherapy and medication fail to provide relief for the patients.

Who is suitable for TMS: TMS is usually recommended to patients who fail to see noticeable results in all other forms of treatments for depression.

What to expect in a TMS session: During the treatment, a large electromagnetic coil is placed near the head of the patient receiving the treatment. The coil contains an electromagnet that generates electric currents which stimulate the brain. These pulses switch on and off at a very fast rate.

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