Pain Management with PEMF Therapy

by | Apr 17, 2020 | PEMF Therapy

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy for pain relief and pain management has huge potential for adoption. PEMF can reduce pain and inflammation as per available research including clinical trials, case studies and meta-analyses.

According to the CDC, an estimated 20.4% of U.S. adults had chronic pain. The American Pain Society reports the 2016 annual cost of chronic pain as high as $635 billion, which is more than the yearly costs for cancer, heart disease and diabetes. People with pain had health care expenditures up to $8,000 higher than someone with no pain. Not to mention, even after all that expense, the patient’s condition can deteriorate when pain medication is applied.

PEMF therapy is relevant to pain management as it is a safe, economical, non-invasive and effective pain treatment utilizing vibrating magnetic fields. It improves blood circulation, oxygenation and naturally allows resolving inflammation and pain faster.

Let us learn how PEMF reduces pain and how professionals can integrate PEMF therapy for pain management. PEMF can be integrated as an adjunct treatment in several pain conditions including chronic pain. The amount of pain relief with PEMF depends on factors such as the individual condition as well as the application method.

For best results with PEMF therapy for pain management, you need to use the correct frequency and intensity. You would also need to ensure the PEMFs reach target area of the PEMF treatment. For example, certain pain conditions such as knee pain would require a stronger more focused field for faster results and on the other hand, a whole-body PEMF mat system would work better for a more more rejuvenating effect.

How does PEMF reduce pain?

PEMF devices use low-frequency magnetic stimulation to recharge the mitochondria that produce energy in the cells. This additional energy is utilized by cells to self-repair and thereby reduce inflammation and pain.

There are several pain conditions resulting from diseases and stress or injury. Let us learn how PEMF works on a cellular level and then see the clinical research to see the potential to use PEMF therapy for pain management. PEMF therapy an pain treatment option worth investigating. There is plenty of research available which should be studied to understand the nature of pulsed electromagnetic fields and their configurations, to be able to apply PEMF therapy effectively for pain relief.

In-vitro (cell) studies on PEMF therapy for inflammation and pain relief

In 2018, German scientists confirmed that PEMF treatment can increase cell count in inflammatory conditions​1​.

In 2019, scientists from Singapore, Switzerland, Italy and USA collaborated to study the mitohormetic mechanism of PEMF​2​ and found that PEMF stimulation activated mitochondria based survival adaptations, i.e., damaged cells could survive longer. PEMF therapy helps restore genetic damage. NASA research found more than 300 genes reverted from matured to developmental.

In 2015, the Journal of Inflammation Research published an article​3​ that proposed that PEMF therapy may benefit chronic inflammation by mediating gene expression required for the inflammation to resolve.

PEMF therapy has a neuro-protective effect that prevents cell death​4​, this was some incredible implications on clinical outcomes of many chronic conditions as well as injury or surgery. The neuro-protective effect also makes it ideal to use both before and after surgeries or sports to reduce inflammation.

Scientists from Korea recently published a study​5​ that found axons and dying neurons were significantly increased under PEMF of four different conditions compared with control. 

Randomized clinical trials on PEMF for pain management

There has been much clinical research including RCTs that have studied the efficacy of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy for pain relief even in chronic pain conditions. In many of these studies, PEMF has been found to be effective for pain management such as in fibromyalgia​2​ ​6​, osteoarthritis​7​, discogenic low back pain​8​ , CRPS​9​ , gynecological pelvic pain​10​ , tendinitis​11​ , headaches​12​, neuropathy​13​, epicondylitis & tennis elbow​14​, diabetic polyneuropathy​15​ and many more conditions.

PEMF therapy is an effective pain relief technology

PEMF therapy increases cell oxygenation, enhances hydration and facilitates detoxification in the body. These functions are essential in reducing the pain for an individual. PEMF therapy enhances nutrient absorption, resulting in faster healing and lesser pain.

With the options available today professionals can integrate PEMF treatment for pain relief during neurological and musculoskeletal recovery. A professional recommendation helps decide what the best PEMF treatment protocol is, given the condition.

We hope this article provides a good starting point to explore PEMF for pain management.

  1. 1.
    Ferroni L, Gardin C, Dolkart O, et al. Pulsed electromagnetic fields increase osteogenetic commitment of MSCs via the mTOR pathway in TNF-α mediated inflammatory conditions: an in-vitro study. Sci Rep. March 2018. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-23499-9
  2. 2.
    Sutbeyaz S, Sezer N, Koseoglu F, Kibar S. Low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in fibromyalgia: a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled clinical study. Clin J Pain. 2009;25(8):722-728. doi:10.1097/AJP.0b013e3181a68a6c
  3. 3.
    Kubat N, Moffett J, Fray L. Effect of pulsed electromagnetic field treatment on programmed resolution of inflammation pathway markers in human cells in culture. J Inflamm Res. 2015;8:59-69. doi:10.2147/JIR.S78631
  4. 4.
    Gessi S, Merighi S, Bencivenni S, et al. Pulsed electromagnetic field and relief of hypoxia-induced neuronal cell death: The signaling pathway. J Cell Physiol. January 2019. doi:10.1002/jcp.28149
  5. 5.
    Hei W, Byun S, Kim J, et al. Effects of electromagnetic field (PEMF) exposure at different frequency and duration on the peripheral nerve regeneration: in vitro and in vivo study. Int J Neurosci. 2016;126(8):739-748. doi:10.3109/00207454.2015.1054032
  6. 6.
    Paolucci T, Piccinini G, Iosa M, et al. Efficacy of extremely low-frequency magnetic field in fibromyalgia pain: A pilot study. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(6):1023-1034. doi:10.1682/JRRD.2015.04.0061
  7. 7.
    Yang X, He H, Ye W, Perry T, He C. Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy on Pain, Stiffness, Physical Function, and Quality of Life in Patients With Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials. Phys Ther. April 2020. doi:10.1093/ptj/pzaa054
  8. 8.
    Marks R. Spine fusion for discogenic low back pain: outcomes in patients treated with or without pulsed electromagnetic field stimulation. Adv Ther. 2000;17(2):57-67. doi:10.1007/bf02854838
  9. 9.
    Pagani S, Veronesi F, Aldini N, Fini M. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I, a Debilitating and Poorly Understood Syndrome. Possible Role for Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields: A Narrative Review. Pain Physician. 2017;20(6):E807-E822.
  10. 10.
    Jorgensen W, Frome B, Wallach C. Electrochemical therapy of pelvic pain: effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) on tissue trauma. Eur J Surg Suppl. 1994;(574):83-86.
  11. 11.
    Binder A, Parr G, Hazleman B, Fitton-Jackson S. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy of persistent rotator cuff tendinitis. A double-blind controlled assessment. Lancet. 1984;1(8379):695-698. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(84)92219-0
  12. 12.
    Grünner O. [Cerebral use of a pulsating magnetic field in neuropsychiatry patients with long-term headache]. EEG EMG Z Elektroenzephalogr Elektromyogr Verwandte Geb. 1985;16(4):227-230.
  13. 13.
    Liu H, Zhou J, Gu L, Zuo Y. The change of HCN1/HCN2 mRNA expression in peripheral nerve after chronic constriction injury induced neuropathy followed by pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. Oncotarget. 2017;8(1):1110-1116. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.13584
  14. 14.
    Reddy R. Effect of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on pain, pressure pain threshold, and pain-free grip strength in participants with lateral epicondylitis. Saudi J Sports Med. 2017:93. doi:10.4103/sjsm.sjsm_16_17
  15. 15.
    Musaev A, Guseinova S, Imamverdieva S. The use of pulsed electromagnetic fields with complex modulation in the treatment of patients with diabetic polyneuropathy. Neurosci Behav Physiol. 2003;33(8):745-752. doi:10.1023/a:1025184912494

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Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy is a holistic wellness technology that’s beneficial to everyone.

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