‘It’s been life-changing’: How TMS therapy gave Mitchell Florn his life back

By Connor Richards: For Entire Post, Go Here…

ngd- A post from the beginning of this year, but worth repeating…

For as long as he can remember, Mitchell Florn has been an “outdoor guy.” The biopharmaceutical scientist and University of Michigan graduate reflects happily on his memories of rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, competitive pistol-shooting and setting records in track. “I’m not a flat ground guy,” Florn says of himself. “I climb.”

This lifestyle was disrupted abruptly in 1994 when Florn suffered a debilitating injury and broke his neck, back and hip. By the early 2000s, he started noticing pain in his hand, pain that exacerbated over the next few years. Before long, Florn was in chronic pain and it had taken over his life. “I couldn’t get out of bed for 16 hours a day,” he said. “Couldn’t button my shirts, couldn’t use a toothbrush in my hand.” 

Florn tried every treatment advised to him. Given his decades of experience researching infectious diseases and teaching anatomy and physiology college courses, Florn is well-versed in medicine. “There’s a list of at least 12 of the pharmaceutical immunomodulators that I had tried,” Florn recalls. He tried TNF inhibitors, hydroxychloroquine, Humira, Stelara, Etanercept and Methotrexate. By 2008, Florn was being prescribed 270 4mg pills a month of Hydromorphone, as well as 90 45mg pills a month of Oxycodone.

TMS, which has been used to treat depression for decades, is a non-invasive therapy that uses brief magnetic pulses to target regions of the brain associated with pain, according to Dr. Scherrer. Using a treatment coil that is placed over a patient’s head, TMS therapy stimulates neurons in the brain by administering magnetic pulses, inducing brief activity of nerve cells in the brain.  Dr. Mackey and his group have been working to develop novel stimulation methods to make TMS more effective and provide longer pain relief. He published a paper in 2017 demonstrating how a novel TMS stimulation method provided pain relief in a group of patients with an intractable pain condition called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Dr. Mackey brought TMS into the Stanford Pain Management Center with the hope of providing a novel therapy to patients and to help identify who would respond to this non-invasive therapy.

After his first round of TMS therapy, Florn had gotten movement back in his hands. Throughout other treatments, his pain scores dropped dramatically, said Dr. Scherrer. “And it’s just been a progressive improvement for him,” she added.

No longer experiencing chronic pain for the first time in years, Florn is back to hiking, climbing four to five miles a day and shooting his bow. His mood has increased, his sleep cycles have improved, and he is on no pain medications. He credits TMS therapy, along with other non-invasive treatments like acupuncture, hypnosis and massage therapy, for giving him his active lifestyle back. “It’s amazing,” Florn said of TMS. “And to me, it’s been life-changing.”

TMS therapy has been used to treat depression since the 1980s and has FDA approval to do so. Its use and effectiveness in other areas, including treatment for pain, anxiety, arthritis and cognitive issues like autism, is being researched in ongoing studies.

Leave a Reply