Is TMS For Parkinson's Effective?

Learn more about Parkinson’s disease and how you can use TMS for Parkinson’s to help mitigate symptoms.

Table of Contents

What Is Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a type of brain disorder that affects the nervous system. It slowly progresses over time, often leading the individual to have uncontrolled bodily movements, including problems with balance, coordination, shaking, tremors, and stiffness in some areas of the body.

Those with Parkinson’s may also start to exhibit mental or behavioral changes as the disease progresses, such as insomnia, memory problems, anxiety, depression, and mood swings. 1

TMS for Parkinson's

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How Common Is Parkinson’s?

Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurological disorder in America. Parkinson’s is much more prevalent in older adults, as the disease tends to mainly get diagnosed in those over sixty years old. However, an estimated 5-10% of patients are diagnosed under the age of fifty. Researchers estimate that as many as one million American adults have Parkinson’s.2
Parkinson’s diagnosis tends to be slightly more common in men than in women, though reasons for this are unknown. Often, people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s due to genetics, meaning that many people who develop Parkinson’s also have a parent or grandparent who also was diagnosed with the neurological disorder.3

What Are the Symptoms of Parkinson's?

Signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease will look different for everyone based on age, genetics, and how far the disease has progressed. They can vary in severity as well. In most cases, symptoms will begin on one side of the body and remain more prevalent on that side, even after the disease has progressed further and the other side of your body has started to show symptoms as well.

If you or a loved one start to notice these symptoms on one side of your body, it’s a good idea to reach out to your medical provider for a checkup as soon as possible. In many cases, people don’t get diagnosed with Parkinson’s until after the disease has steadily progressed and has affected both sides of the body, so seeing a doctor early on in the process can help you get the treatment you may need.

Common Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s include:4
  • Tremors 
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
  • Rigid muscles
  • Impaired posture and balance
  • Loss of automatic movements, such as blinking, smiling, or swallowing
  • Speech changes
  • Writing changes

How Does Parkinson’s Affect Your Body?

Parkinson’s often starts with slight tremors in your hands or feet, stiffness in muscles, and with slower movements. Once it progresses, however, these symptoms will worsen and make daily tasks much more difficult. You may start to notice signs of mental disorders as well, such as anxiety and confusion, during the later stages.

Parkinson’s affects more than just your bodily movements, as it is a neurological condition. Therefore, multiple people also develop dementia as their symptoms worsen, making the two of them potentially co-occurring conditions.5

Progression of Parkinson's

The progression of Parkinson’s will vary for each individual due to different symptoms and severity. Some people see a much faster progression of the disease than others, although in most cases, the onset is slow. There are three main stages of Parkinson’s: mild, moderate, and advanced. 6

Mild Stage

During this stage, you may not even notice symptoms at first. Tremors and muscle rigidity are the most common signs during this stage, but since Parkinson’s mostly affects older individuals, many patients attribute these to growing older. However, if you do notice signs in time and see your doctor, they may be able to prescribe medication, which often helps with any tremors or stiffness.

Moderate Stage

Since Parkinson’s is generally slow to progress, it can take anywhere from two to seven years to progress to the moderate stage. During this stage, everyday tasks such as buttoning a shirt or writing a check become more difficult. Other symptoms may present during this stage, such as memory issues, slower movements, and trouble speaking.

Advanced Stage

This is the most serious stage of Parkinson’s, but many people may not even reach this stage due to the slow progression of the disease, especially if they develop other co-occurring disorders such as dementia. At this point, however, most people are unable to live on their own and need assistance with daily tasks or are even limited to their beds or wheelchair.

What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive brain stimulation therapy that allows doctors to stimulate certain nerve cells. This type of treatment has been found to be effective for certain mental disorders, such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder. More recently, however, TMS for Parkinson’s has shown improvement for certain symptoms of the disease.

How Does TMS Work?

TMS for Parkinson’s is most commonly an outpatient procedure, meaning that you are allowed to go home afterward. It’s important to remove anything metal or sensitive to magnets, such as earrings or necklaces, before the start of the procedure.
Repetitive TMS (rTMS) has been found to be most effective for those with Parkinson’s. During the TMS for Parkinson’s procedure, the technician will place a device on your head that will deliver magnetic pulses to certain areas of your brain.
These magnetic pulses activate the parts of the brain that have become inactive due to Parkinson’s. The procedure of TMS for Parkinson’s generally takes anywhere from a half-hour to an hour, and most patients continue treatment for one to two months for effective results.7

Is TMS for Parkinson's Effective?

TMS for Parkinson’s has been found to be effective in helping mitigate motor functioning symptoms that many patients experience, such as muscle rigidity or slowness of movement. TMS for Parkinson’s has also helped patients who experience cognitive issues from the disease as well, including memory problems and depression.8
TMS for Parkinson's
While this type of treatment may not work for everyone, it has proven to be helpful for those who have tried medications, physical therapy, or other treatment options that were not effective in reducing symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend you start TMS for Parkinson’s if your symptoms are starting to affect your everyday life.
Unfortunately, utilizing TMS for Parkinson’s is also not a way to permanently “fix” or “cure” Parkinson’s. However, most patients who undergo TMS often see a reduction or remission in symptoms for anywhere from six months to up to a year. Your doctor may also have you try several sessions of TMS to help mitigate symptoms for longer.9

Get TMS Therapy for Parkinson's Disease at Profound Treatment

At Profound Treatment, we use an evidence-based treatment model to help each of our clients. We also utilize a holistic approach to make sure that we help treat the entire person and not just their disorders.

Our compassionate and knowledgeable staff will be here for you every step of the way during your treatment. Whether you want to start TMS for Parkinson’s or need assistance with a substance abuse disorder, Profound Treatment can help.

Reach Out Today

If you or a loved one start to notice the telltale signs of Parkinson’s and have thought about biofeedback or TMS treatment, reach out to us today. We have staff trained in TMS for Parkinson’s and can answer any questions you may have.

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