Background The biologic effects of low-level magnetic fields on the human body have been studied since the 16th century. Pulsating electromagnetic fields (PEMF) may have biological effects due to electrical rather than magnetic forces. There have been very few scattered studies on the effects of PEMF on pain and function in rheumatic diseases.
Objectives The objective of this double-blind, pacebo-controlled, prospective trial was to assess the influence of PEMF therapy on pain and range of motion (ROM) in peripheral joints and spine affected by osteoarthritis. We also wished to determine the potential effects of PEMF on the cardiovascular system. We used a newly developed device providing a highly specialized vibration package of electromagnetic field.
Methods Altogether 127 patients consecutively admitted to one of the two rehabilitation centers were recruited between September 1, 2009 and October 31, 2010. Patients with painful osteoarthritis of the large joints (study group A) or that of the spine (study group B) were divided into two study groups and were randomly assigned to either PMEF or sham treatment.
Results Compared to the sham-therapy group patients benefited from the magnetic therapy mainly in pain reduction in the hip and in the shoulder. The rotational movements improved the most. Due to these favourable changes illness intusiveness has decreased in all patients but it was significant only in the magnetic therapy group. Treatment protocol was acceptable for all participants participated in the study as reflected in the patients’ satisfaction. We have not experienced any side effects during the study period. Blood pressure and heart rate changes were similar in both groups and could be attributed primarily to the relaxing position
Conclusions In this prospective, placebo controlled trial, WOMAC, pain and ICF scores changed upon both PEMF and Sham treatment. PEMF was significantly superior to Sham in improving IIRS scores, as well as some dimensions in hip, cervical and lumbar spine mobility. Thus, PEMF may be an effective non-pharmacological treatment of large joint and spine OA.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared