Double Duty

Magnetic stimulation therapy relieves pain, alleviates depression.

Brian Morgan had crippling back pain successfully treated with magnetic waves. Brian Covins had a great response to both TMS and TBS treatments provided by Dr. Kawliche at Brandon TMS & Psychiatry.

Brian Morgan is pain free at work and at home after treatment.

One of the strangest sports injuries ever documented occurred in May 2004 when then Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa strained a ligament in his back while sneezing. It was an injury that eventually forced Sosa to miss two weeks of games.

Police officer Brian Morgan, who played college and minor league baseball before retiring from the game and joining the force, can relate.

“I was sitting on the couch one day and reached over to get the remote control.

I sneezed at the same time, and something bizarre happened that I can barely explain,” Brian recalls. “I felt a sharp, stinging pain in my lower back and both of my feet went numb.

“I wound up missing a few days of work because I couldn’t bend down. I couldn’t even walk. The pain would start in the lower left side of my back and shoot down through my hip and into my leg and foot.

“When I finally went back to work, I was in pain off and on most days, but I struggled through it. I would apply heat and then ice throughout the day when I was able to, but it was a rough ride, that’s for sure.”

Prior to becoming a police officer, Brian always led an active lifestyle. He was a basketball player and baseball player in high school, and when his baseball career ended, he became an avid runner. But his back pain forced him to the sidelines.

“I really missed my long runs and being active,” he remarks. “Even during all the years I played sports, I never had an injury that caused the kind of pain this one did. Just getting out of bed was painful.

“Most mornings, it would take me twenty-five minutes to get out of bed and get moving. At the time, my son was three and my daughter was five. I couldn’t pick them up without painful consequences. That went on for over a year.”

On a scale of one to ten, Brian’s pain level escalated to an eight or nine. At his wife’s urging, he consulted with a chiropractor who sent him for an MRI. The results, Brian says, indicated he had a slipped disc in his lower back.

“I underwent several chiropractic treatments, but nothing worked long-term to alleviate the pain,” he says. “Then, on Easter Sunday, I overheard someone in the family talking about an experimental treatment a doctor at her clinic was using to alleviate pain through electromagnetic induction.

“I heard them talk about how these electromagnetic waves can eliminate pain in certain areas of the body, and I said, I’m willing to try it, no questions asked. I made an appointment the next morning, and by that afternoon, I was undergoing
my first treatment.”

Wave of the Future

The doctor Brian’s family member was referring to is Boris Kawliche, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist at Brandon TMS & Psychiatry who specializes in the administration of Corporal Theta Burst, or CTB, therapy.

CTB is an experimental treatment for back pain that uses short bursts of magnetic pulses to stimulate the part of the body where the patient is experiencing pain. In administering the treatment, Dr. Kawliche uses the same Danish-made MagVita R30 machine that he uses when treating patients with depression with transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, just in a different way.

The Food and Drug Administration approved TMS therapy in 2008 for people with treatment-resistant depression. In most cases, those who failed treatments with antidepressants respond very well to TMS, and there are essentially no side effects.

While approved to treat depression, TMS has not yet been approved by the FDA to relieve chronic pain. Dr. Kawliche is the only provider in the area who has equipment that can handle the Theta Burst protocol, which he dubbed CTB.

“I made it clear to Brian that using CTB to treat pain is strictly experimental,” Dr. Kawliche emphasizes. “I told him that he would be part of a study of its effects on pain, and he had absolutely no hesitation in trying it.”

Brian’s willingness to try the experimental treatment paid off. After completing five sessions equaling a total of 60 minutes of therapy, Brian says he went from not being able to get out of bed in the morning to resuming a physical lifestyle.

“After the fourth day of treatment, I went into work and I said, Man, I feel great.

In the months that followed, Brian went on to train for a decathlon.

Dr. Kawliche says results as dramatic as those experienced by Brian cannot be expected with every patient, even if they are what he strives for.

Personal Results

Much like Brian, Dr. Kawliche says he considers himself a guinea pig in the
experimental use of CTB.

“I enjoy running in my spare time, and I developed Achilles tendonitis in my left ankle,” Dr. Kawliche shares. “For fifteen years, it had been impossible to run for more than ten minutes. If I attempted to run, I would be paying the price for a couple of weeks afterward. I would be limping around. I tried everything, from massages to heat and cold packs to TENS units – nothing seemed to work.

“Then one day, I thought to myself, If TMS can be used on the brain so effectively, and more specifically Theta Burst protocol can give results so quickly, why can’t it be used on other parts of the body?

After a handful of sessions to treat his own ankle, Dr. Kawliche says he found he was able to run for an hour or two without any pain. Dr. Kawliche says that success prompted him to expand his experiment.

“I knew I was onto something, and I wanted to conduct a study with real-life
participants in order to further prove its effects,” he explains. “We gathered forty volunteers to be in a study that we presented in Berlin at Biospine last April.

“Those participants had very positive results. Some of those patients came off of opioid medications. Others were able to cancel invasive procedures such as spinal fusions, stem cell injections, spinal cord stimulation implantations and morphine pumps after this treatment.

“After one ten-minute session, the effects of the MagVita machine are comparable to someone being given the energy to lift a parking lot of cars. The amount of power that is radiated has effects at the atomic level. It is restorative energy.”

Dr. Kawliche hopes to see the FDA approve pain-related magnetic treatments so more people suffering from chronic pain can reap the benefits. The treatment is a safer, more cost-effective and more effective way to treat pain without the risks associated with surgery or medications.

“I could see this being effective in treating patients with arthritis, fibromyalgia, even migraines,” he says.

Living Life Again

Brian says not having to take more than 20 minutes to get out of bed every day took some getting used to.

“I would wake up and start doing my old morning stretch routine to get out of bed, and my wife would say, I thought that your back wasn’t hurting anymore?” he recalls. “And I’d say, It’s not. And then I’d remember and think, Oh my God, I’ve been doing this so long, I forgot I don’t need to anymore. Now, the alarm goes off, I get out of bed and I’m immediately in motion.

“I’ve been telling everybody I know about the treatment. I can lift my kids without problems. I’ve started running again. The CTB treatment truly has been life-changing for me. I was willing to try anything to get my life back, and this has definitely done that for me.”

On the Fast Track

After working for more than a decade in the technical support field for a variety of different companies, Brian Covins ventured out on his own a few years ago and became a one-man Geek Squad®, creating the company he now calls Lighthouse Computer Services.

“I mainly go around to homes and small businesses and do computer maintenance and troubleshoot any problems people might have,” Brian says. “I teach them about any changes that have been made in their systems, clean up viruses, that sort of thing.”

Brian, 47, uses his tech support company to supplement his income, a portion of which comes from the disability payments he’s been receiving since he was deemed permanently disabled because of anxiety and depression several years back.

“The depression made me feel like I was fatigued all the time, and the anxiety made me make mistakes on paperwork and that sort of thing,” Brian explains. “Unfortunately, that’s been a long-running theme.”

Brian’s personal bout with depression and anxiety dates back to his late teens, when his inability to concentrate on his studies forced him to abandon his early attempt to earn some college credits. It also cost him a part-time job.

Brian’s struggles eventually led to a diagnosis of major depressive disorder for which he was initially treated with antidepressants. When those proved ineffective, Brian took advantage of an opportunity to undergo TMS therapy.

Brian says he had a “very good response” to his initial TMS treatments. The response was so good, in fact, that when the psychiatrist who administered his first TMS treatments retired, Brian sought out a new psychiatrist who offered the same treatment. That psychiatrist he chose is Dr. Kawliche, who offers not only the noninvasive, pain-
relieving, experimental CTB treatments but also TMS and an “express” version of TMS treatments called theta-burst stimulation, or TBS.

Intermittent or Continuous

The biggest difference between standard TMS treatments and the similarly noninvasive TBS treatments is the amount of time required for each treatment session to be completed.

Brian Morgan had crippling back pain successfully treated with magnetic waves. Brian Covins had a great response to both TMS and TBS treatments provided by Dr. Kawliche at Brandon TMS & Psychiatry.

Brian Covins says he can feel the effects of TBS treatments even as he receives them.

A single TMS treatment session lasts approximately 19 minutes, and a typical TMS treatment protocol calls for patients to receive five such treatments each week for six to eight weeks for a total of 36 treatments.
TBS treatments, which were approved for use by the FDA just last summer, can be delivered in an intermittent form that takes about three minutes per session or a continuous form that can be completed in about a minute.

When Dr. Kawliche first began treating Brian in 2017, he treated him for depression using standard TMS. Since then, he has treated him for both depression and anxiety, the latter through TBS treatments, which he recently changed from intermittent to continuous.

“When they do the TMS treatments for my depression, they place the paddle on the left side of my head,” Brian explains. “When they do the TBS treatments for my anxiety, the device is placed on the right side of my head.

“Both have worked really well for me. The treatments for my depression have really helped improve my moods, to the point where I have actually been getting out more and have become more socially active.

“As for the anxiety, my biggest problem there has always been sleeping. Because I would lie awake all night worrying about anything and everything, I’d only get about four to six hours of sleep a night.

“That may not seem that bad, but when you do that for days on end, you eventually reach a point where you’re so tired, you just have to crash for about twelve hours. That’s what was happening to me.

“Ever since we started doing the continuous TBS treatments, I’ve been sleeping a lot better. I’ve been sleeping a good eight hours or nine hours, which is what I need to feel more refreshed. I also feel a lot more alert and aware of things.”

Safe, Easy and Effective

Brian had what Dr. Kawliche refers to as a “typical response” to the two therapies, which have proven to be extremely effective. Studies show that 40 percent of patients receiving TMS or TBS treatments become completely asymptomatic, while 60 percent feel better but do not reach a level where they consider themselves to be completely asymptomatic.

In addition to their effectiveness, TMS and TBS treatments are also safe and easy on the body. The most common side effect is some mild to moderate scalp discomfort stemming from the treatment applications.

“The TBS treatments have really made a difference for me,” Brian exudes. “With the theta-burst treatments, I can feel them working even while I’m getting them. I can feel my mood changing and getting better.

“It’s a therapy I absolutely recommend for anyone who’s fighting depression or anxiety like me, and I definitely recommend Dr. Kawliche. I love that guy because he’s so open-minded and willing to try new things.

“He’s traveled all over the world to do research on TMS and TBS, and because of that, he’s on the leading edge of this.”

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