Transcranial magnetic stimulation for chronic pain and headache: a non-invasive alternative

Chronic pain and headaches can be debilitating conditions that often require long-term drug treatment. However, the drugs can be expensive, invasive, and carry the risk of side effects, including dependence and tolerance.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is an FDA-approved, non-invasive alternative to Neuromodulation for the treatment of chronic pain and headaches.

Neuromodulation: What is it and how does it work?

Neuromodulation is a therapeutic approach that involves manipulation of the central pain system, a complex system that regulates pain perception and response.

The technique uses electrical or magnetic pulses, invasive or non-invasive, to modulate central nervous system activity and relieve migraine symptoms.

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS or TMS)?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-invasive method of treatment that uses magnetic stimulation to relieve chronic pain, migraines and persistent headaches. The procedure targets the brain centers responsible for pain regulation.

TMS works by reactivating or enhancing these brain areas responsible for perceiving and modulating pain. By addressing the imbalance in its functioning, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation assists in reducing symptoms related to chronic pain, providing relief and improving patients’ quality of life.

How does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation work?

A Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation device uses a coil that produces magnetic pulses, directed to the brain centers responsible for pain regulation.

During the procedure, the coil is gently positioned over the patient’s head, in the region that controls pain-related movements.

What happens during a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatment session?

During the first Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation session, the responsible professional defines the brain target and the appropriate intensity for the treatment. In order to confirm the correct location, the specialist uses an electromyography record that monitors the patient’s muscle movements during stimulation.

Once the location has been confirmed, the treatment is performed by applying a series of magnetic pulses, which last approximately 3 to 5 minutes. After the session, patients can usually drive home unless they experience dizziness or any other unusual symptoms.

What are the benefits of transcranial magnetic stimulation?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-invasive, FDA-approved option as an alternative to invasive treatments and pain medications.

Patients undergoing treatment to control chronic pain and headaches generally obtain relief without the risks of addiction or tolerance commonly associated with medication use.

When to Consider Neuromodulation

Neuromodulation is generally considered when patients do not respond to or cannot tolerate first-line treatments.

Patients who have not responded to medication, or who have tolerated or refractory pain, may undergo TMS treatment.

EMT side effects:

Although TMS is considered generally safe and well tolerated, like any other medical treatment, it can have side effects.

The main side effects include:

  1. mild headache: Some people may experience mild headaches or discomfort where the coil was positioned during treatment. This headache is usually temporary and can be alleviated with common medications such as pain relievers.
  2. Discomfort at the treatment site: The patient may experience temporary discomfort where the magnetic coil is applied. This is due to involuntary muscle contraction caused by the magnetic pulses. However, the discomfort usually subsides as the treatment progresses and the patient gets used to the sensation.
  3. risk of seizures: Although rare, there is a small risk of seizures associated with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatment. This risk is higher in patients with a history of seizures or epilepsy. However, current treatment protocols are designed to minimize this risk, and the incidence of seizures related to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is extremely low.
  4. Temporary changes in mood: Some patients may experience temporary changes in mood after Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation sessions. These changes are usually mild and disappear quickly, but it is important to be aware of them and discuss them with your treating physician if necessary.


Chronic pain and headaches can be debilitating conditions that affect many individuals across the world.

Medications and invasive treatments are often prescribed to manage these conditions, but they can be expensive, have numerous side effects, and carry the risk of dependence and tolerance.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an FDA-approved, non-invasive alternative that can relieve chronic pain and headaches without the risks and side effects associated with medications.

If you suffer from chronic pain or headaches, consult your primary care physician or pain specialist about TMS as a routine alternative or supplement to your current pain management plan.


Leave a Reply