Chronic pain has aspects that are both physical and mental, and it comes in many forms. Sometimes when somatic approaches have failed, a top down approach that attacks the brain’s perception of pain can be useful. Depression is highly co-morbid with pain, treating mood areas with TMS also seems to affect the pain threshold. In one study, a single TMS treatment was given post-operatively to patients while they were in the recovery room, and TMS treated patients used 50% less self administered pain medicine than those given a sham treatment.
TMS therapy is targeted at pain pathways in the motor and sensory cortex of the brain. This technique has been very useful in treating phantom limb pain where there is no bodily target to treat. It is also has great success treating Fibromyalgia, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS, also known as RSD) and other types of neuropathic pain.