Dr. Albert Leung and his team at VA San Diego Healthcare System Center for Pain and Headache Research have investigated a treatment for headache pain associated with mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs). Fortunately, there is new hope for those especially veterans experiencing TBI. This treatment consists to using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to deliver magnetic impulses using an electromagnetic coil. Using magnetic ressonance imaging (MRI), Dr. Leung can precisely target specific brain areas. TMS is currently FDA approved for treatment resistant depression, but up until now, it not has limited research on the potential for TMS to treat headaches.
The use of this protocol consists of four 5-minute treatment session within the first week but it can vary depending on the treatment. TMS is a noninvasive, safe, painless, and has no long term negative side effects associated with this treatment. Nearly 90% of the individuals experienced a decrease or remission of persistent headaches after receiving the treatments. The study demonstrates that TMS significantly reduces the intensity and frequency of debilitating headaches in 58% of subjects. Dr. Lueng is also studying TMS treatments on Guld War veterans with headaches, muscle and joint pain.
Headaches are the most common debilitation chronic pain conditions in either active duty or retired military personnel with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). This high prevalance is also associated with neurological dysfunction in mood, attention, and memory which can dramatically impact an individuals quality of life. Here, we see a positive outlook for TMS and its treatment capabilities. If you would like more information on the study click here.