Exploring the Side Effects of TMS Therapy and How to Manage Them

By Marriage & Family Services


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy is a promising treatment for various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and more. While TMS therapy can offer significant benefits, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects and how to manage them effectively. In this blog, we’ll explore the side effects of TMS therapy and provide guidance on how to handle them.

Understanding TMS Therapy

Before diving into the side effects, let’s briefly explain what TMS therapy is. TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific areas of the brain. It is often used when traditional treatments like medications or counseling have proven ineffective.

The Potential Side Effects

Like any medical procedure, TMS therapy may have side effects, though they are generally mild and temporary. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and they can vary in intensity. Some common side effects include:

  • Scalp Discomfort

    During TMS sessions, you may experience mild scalp discomfort or a tingling sensation around the treatment area. This is usually temporary and can be managed by informing your TMS technician, who can adjust the equipment to reduce discomfort.

  • Headache

    Headaches are one of the more common side effects of TMS therapy. They can typically be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medication.

  • Lightheadedness

    Some patients may experience brief episodes of lightheadedness, especially when standing up after a TMS session. To prevent this, it’s advisable to take your time when getting up from the treatment chair.

  • Scalp Redness

    In some cases, patients may notice temporary redness on the scalp in the area where the magnetic coil was applied. This typically resolves within a few hours after the session.

  • Tinnitus

    Tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears, can occur in rare cases. If you experience tinnitus during or after TMS therapy, inform your treatment provider immediately.

Managing TMS Therapy Side Effects

While the side effects of TMS therapy are generally mild and short-lived, here are some strategies to help you manage them effectively:

  • Open Communication

    Always maintain open communication with your TMS technician and healthcare provider. Inform them about any side effects you experience so they can make necessary adjustments to ensure your comfort and safety during the treatment.

  • Stay Hydrated

    Drinking plenty of water before and after TMS sessions can help reduce the likelihood of developing a headache or feeling lightheaded.

  • Take It Easy

    If you experience lightheadedness after a session, take your time getting up from the treatment chair. This can prevent dizziness and potential falls.

  • Consult Your Healthcare Provider

    If side effects persist or worsen, consult your healthcare provider for guidance. They may adjust your treatment plan or recommend additional interventions.

  • Self-Care

    Engaging in self-care practices, such as relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, can help minimize the impact of side effects and enhance the overall effectiveness of TMS therapy.


TMS therapy is a promising option for those struggling with mental health conditions, but it’s essential to be informed about potential side effects and how to manage them. By staying in close contact with your healthcare provider and adopting self-care strategies, you can make the most of TMS therapy while minimizing any temporary discomfort. Remember that the benefits of TMS therapy can be transformative, offering improved mental health and well-being.

If you or a loved one are considering TMS therapy as part of your mental health treatment plan, our marriage and family counseling center is here to provide support and guidance throughout the process. We understand that mental health is intertwined with family dynamics and relationships, and we are dedicated to helping you achieve a healthier, happier life.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.

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