The Pain & Injury Doctor ONLINE Newsletter

Here is your latest pain relief tip. If it doesn’t apply to you, still take note because life is full of surprises. If you know someone who is dealing with this type of pain, please forward this email to that person– thanks!

 

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy:  How it Heals Pain

 

PEMF-Pulse

If you are one of millions of people who suffer from joint pain; either chronic or recent injury or onset, a developing technology called Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy shows great promise as a non-drug treatment alternative.

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field technology (PEMF) has long been known to have therapeutic benefits. In the 1960s, researchers demonstrated that electromagnetic field energy, or “magnetobiology” could help bones heal themselves.

In physics, whenever an electrical current passes through a conductor, it creates a magnetic field.  A magnetic field aligns molecules that have an electrical charge along the magnetic field axis.  This is how a compass works:  the metal needle aligns with the magnetic field of the earth and points to the north.  Could you see how this phenomenon can have medical applications?

In order for something to be therapeutically viable, it needs to be able to create a physiological change in the human body that benefits the body in some way. For example, COX-2 anti-inflammatory medications chemically block enzymes responsible for generating inflammation, thus reducing pain. Heat dilates blood vessels and increases circulation, which reduces pain and increases mobility in a muscle; cold constricts blood vessels, reduces swelling and numbs nerves which can reduce acute pain.

But what about electromagnetic fields?  Evidence shows that they can influence cell membranes, since cell membranes rely on tiny electrical charges to change their permeability (porosity). When there is inflammation and swelling present, cell membranes dictate what passes into and out of the cells and into the extracellular space.

pemf-membrane

During inflammation and recent injury (acute phase), red blood cells clump together, resembling a stack of coins. This is known as “rouleaux formation” and is due to increased levels of serum proteins, particularly fibrinogen and globulins.

rouleaux

PEMF seems to have the ability to thin out thickened blood by loosening rouleaux formations.  This allows blood to flow faster to and from an injury/ inflamed site, delivering oxygen and reparative agents faster (see the Dr. Oz video below as well):

rbc pemf

Chatter Means Something’s Hot

Currently, the subject of magnetobiology is experiencing a surge in interest in academia, with a staggering 350% increase in articles published on the topic over the last 15 years. What can this mean?

Whenever there is a flurry of research activity in a particular field, it usually means that scientists are finding promising results in their research; i.e. they are seeing something “work” in the lab, which is very exciting, given the many negative test results in medical research.

The findings are published in peer-reviewed medical journals read by researchers around the world. This world-wide, academic collaboration decides whether the topic is valid and worthy of further investigation, and based on the volume of research, that is the case for pulsed electromagnetic therapy.

What this means to pain sufferers is that PEMF is worth looking into; it has passed the stringent “snake oil test” of medical research involving randomized, controlled clinical trials. I have summarized two of them below.

Low frequency and low intensity pulsed electromagnetic field exerts its anti-inflammatory effect through restoration of plasma membrane calcium ATPase activity

Ramasamy Selvam, et. al.

This study involved artificially causing rheumatoid arthritis in rat leg joints by injecting an irritant into the joint. A control group, a group treated with PEMF, and a group treated with a traditional anti-inflammatory medication where used.

To find out whether PEMF has any stabilizing effect on membranes, this study measured PEMFs effect on:

• Edema/ swelling
• Levels of antioxidants
• Plasma membrane calcium ATPase (PMCA)
• Intracellular calcium (Ca+) levels
• Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in blood lymphocytes

Effect of PEMF on SWELLING: PEMF reduced swelling by 70.71% compared to 77.50% for the group treated with anti-inflammatory medication (diclofenac) — not bad!

Effect of PEMF on ANTI-OXIDANT LEVELS: Cells need anti-oxidants to neutralize free-radicals, which damage cell membranes and DNA. The anti-oxidant levels were decreased in the arthritic group compared to the control (untested) group. However, treatment with PEMF and diclofenac resulted in a significant rise in anti-oxidant activity.

Effect of PEMF on CELL MEMBRANE FUNCTION: PMCA is a protein found in all cells’ plasma membrane (shield or covering) that helps pump calcium ions (Ca+) out of the cell as they build up. It is necessary to keep Ca+ ion concentration low in order for the cell to carry out its normal, biological functions (signaling). When there is inflammation such as that caused by rheumatoid arthritis, it generates oxidative stress (free radical damage) to the cell membrane, resulting in decreased activity of PMCA and buildup of Ca+ ions.

The study demonstrated that PEMF could stabilize the membranes and restore PMCA activity, thereby maintaining intracellular Ca2+ level at extremely low levels. This, in turn, decreased the inflammatory PGE2 levels (prostaglandin—the precursor substance of inflammation) and consequently suppressed the inflammation.

CONCLUSION: low frequency and low intensity PEMF is indeed beneficial in reducing inflammation without potential side effects indicating that it could be a viable alternative therapy for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (and other conditions involving chronic inflammation– my comment).

Currently available PEMF Home Therapy Units available directly to the public (no doctor prescription required):

More Proof of Pulsed EMF’s Health Benefits

Pulsed Shortwave Treatment in Women With Knee Osteoarthritis: A Multicenter, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

Thiago Yukio Fukuda, et.al.

One hundred twenty-one women (mean age=60 years, SD=9) with a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis (OA) were tested to see if pulsed electromagnetic therapy could reduce their arthritis. “Low dose” and “High dose” groups were created to determine the best therapeutic dosage.

Participants were distributed randomly into 4 groups: 35 participants did not receive any treatment (control group), 23 received a placebo treatment, 32 received low-dose PSW treatment (power of 14.5 W, treatment duration of 19 minutes, and total energy of 17 kJ), and 31 received high-dose PSW treatment (power of 14.5 W, treatment duration of 38 minutes, and total energy of 33 kJ). An 11-point numerical pain rating scale and the Knee Osteoarthritis Outcome Score were used to assess pain and function in 3 stages: at initial evaluation (pretreatment), immediately after treatment, and at 12-month follow-up.

RESULTS: The results demonstrated the short-term effectiveness of the PSW at low and high doses in patients with knee OA. Both treatment groups showed a significant reduction in pain and improvement in function compared with the control and placebo groups. There were no differences in results between PSW doses, although a low dose of PSW appeared to be more effective in the long term.

Note: These results were achieved without physical exercise, which could have positively influenced the results.

CONCLUSION: Pulsed shortwave treatment is an effective method for pain relief and improvement of function and quality of life in the short term in women with knee OA. On the basis of the results, application of PSW treatment is recommended in the female population with knee OA.

The Bottom Line:

Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy is a safe and viable method for reducing inflammatory pain. Research suggests that electromagnetic fields can influence cell membrane permeability in a way that reduces the severity of pain.  Best of all, it doesn’t involve using harmful and addictive medication.    Since there are numerous variables in pain cases (age, general health, pre-existing conditions, injury severity, etc.) people will have varying results using PEMF.   If you are experiencing musculoskeletal pain, I highly recommend you give PEMF a try.

Dr. Perez

Dear Readers:  I am currently researching the various PEMF products on the market.  As the technology matures we can expect to see newer, better products.

Pulsed EMF on Amazon:

Lastly, check out this video by Dr. Oz on Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy.  I don’t know if you are a fan of Dr. Oz, but take a look at this short video, because he does a decent job explaining how it works, and what it can help:

For more detailed, step-by-step guidance on permanently resolving chronic muscle and joint pain, visit

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The information contained in this email and on www.PainandInjuryDoctor.com is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as a medical directive. It is provided as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dan Perez, D.C. Every person is unique, and individual cases of pain are therefore unique. Dr. Perez encourages readers of PainandInjuryDoctor.com to use available sources of information to help them make a more educated and informed decision regarding their health, in partnership with one or more qualified health care professionals.

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