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    My husband just started TMS yesterday. He’s had 2 treatments so far and the pain in his brain is so intense. He says it feels like his brain (not the skin or scalp) from temple to temple along his forehead is being shocked. He says he just has tears running down his face and he’s squeezing the stress balls as hard as he can in order to bear the pain. I can’t find anything, no information anywhere which addresses this as a symptom. He’s scared this is damaging his brain. He’s tried to tell the people administering the treatment but they kind of make fun of him, saying his pain threshold must be very low. They say the machine is set to the lowest setting. I’m hoping tomorrow, his third treatment, they can figure this out.

    Has anyone heard of this before? Thanks in advance.



    Hi Aspen,

    I would be concerned too, if I was in your position! I help to run a small clinic in LA, so I may be able to help. One important question to ask is whether or not he feels any pressure in his eye. If he doesn’t, there is no danger of damage to the brain whatsoever (despite very significant discomfort).

    The stimulation dose is often figured out first by measuring how much energy makes the thumb move, which tells the provider approximately how much energy is required to make brain cells fire. This is called the motor threshold (MT). The actual stimulation dose is 120% of the MT.

    People tend to feel the stimulation dose differently. Many people are able to tolerate the stimulation dose on the first session, but I also have a number of patients where I slowly taper the stimulation dose upwards throughout the first week. So, I might start with 80% MT day 1, 90% MT day 2, 100% day 3, 110% day 4, and 120% day 5. You might want to ask if they can do something like this with him. If they can’t, just know that the stimulation dose will eventually become tolerable. It can sometimes take a couple weeks, but by the end of treatment, many patients feel little to no discomfort from the stimulation. You could also try asking if they have a different TMS machine he can use. It sounds like they are using Brainsway’s “Deep TMS” machine, but there are other options available.

    Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions!




    I have just completed my 25th session with Neurostar with five to go. I had a threshold # of 80 so my threshold was low and I went to 120% during the 2nd treatment. I believe I was told the lower the threshold, the lower also the noise during the session. The 1st and 2nd time I felt a discomfort over my left eyebrow and had some tearing, but after the 3rd session, there was no further discomfort, for what that is worth.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by  jamesj. Reason: corrected spacing of word


    Thank you for your responses. I think what he’s feeling is the vibrations on the boney part of his forehead which radiates outward. It’s also scary thinking there’s electricity moving those magnets and therefore going into the brain and causing possible damage to the brain. He spoke to his Dr who also indicated that the brain doesn’t have nerves to feel pain, only the scalp and layers under the scalp.

    BenTMS, thank you for your information, it went a long way towards helping us understand and calm some of the anxiety.

    Jamesj, it’s good to know that things got better. I’m hoping things will also get better with my husband as well. He is going to continue and power thru the pain and discomfort.

    Thank you for your input!

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