Nerve repair is not achieved easily, especially in older people.
The procedure usually includes surgery, and the recovery is rarely completely successful.
Because of that, scientists around the world have been exploring new ways of treating nerve injuries, as well as ways of improving the chances of recovery using the traditional method.
One of their findings was PEMF stimulation for nerve repair.
The research started a couple of decades ago, and today PEMF is a well-established and proven treatment for nerve damage.
In this article, we’ll explore in greater detail the implications of PEMF in nerve repair, and the methodology behind it.
Keep reading for a plenitude of useful information.
What is Nerve Regeneration?
Nerve repair, also known as neuroregeneration, is the process of the regrowth of nerve cells, tissues, and cell products.
These mechanisms of repair often include regeneration of neurons, axons, glia, myelin, or synapses.
Neuroregeneration can happen in the central and peripheral nervous system, and it differs between the two in speed and the extent of regeneration.
More than 90,000 people every year suffer from some kind of nerve damage.
Ten thousand of those are people who suffer spinal cord damage.
Depending on the extent of the injury and other factors like age and overall health, recovery from such injuries can be successful, partially successful, or completely unsuccessful.
Symptoms of Nerve Damage
Since our nervous system extends throughout our body, the symptoms that we experience when there is some nerve damage can be vastly different.
The range of symptoms depends on the type of nerve that is affected, and the part of the body where it is located.
Both the nerves in our brain and spinal cord and the peripheral nerves in the rest of our body can sustain damage.
Depending on which type of nerve is damaged, we can distinguish between autonomous, motor, and sensory nerve damage.
Autonomous nerve damage symptoms:
- Inability to sense chest pain
- Too little or too much sweating
- Dry mouth and eyes
- Sexual and bladder dysfunction
Motor nerve damage:
- Muscle atrophy
- Muscle twitching
Sensory nerve damage:
- Issues with positional awareness
Causes of Nerve Damage
Since there are so many nerves running through our body, the causes of their damage are just as numerous.
They can be damaged both from injury and as a consequence of various diseases.
Here is a list of some of the most common causes.
- Autoimmune diseases
- Motor neuron diseases
- Nutritional deficiencies
Treatment of Nerve Damage
Unfortunately, in most cases, nerve damage cannot be cured completely.
However, since most nerve injuries are progressive in nature, the progression of the damage can be slowed down or completely stopped.
The first step that needs to be taken is to find out what is causing the damage and treat the cause.
Additionally, a doctor might prescribe medication, which will minimize the pain and discomfort.
In some cases, surgery is necessary as well, to treat the nerve or reconnect it if it has been severed.
PEMF therapy is another way to treat nerve damage.
Various studies show that PEMFs accelerate nerve repair, and decrease pain and discomfort that a patient might feel.
Let’s take a closer look at the evidence and the methodology behind it.
PEMF Therapy and Nerve Regeneration
More than 20 million Americans suffer from some kind of nerve damage. (1)
Unfortunately, the outcome of the treatments they undergo to repair that damage is often uncertain.
Many people opt for “nerve burning,” which is a procedure in which your nerve is basically destroyed in order for your pain to go away.
The nerve may or may not regrow after that. However, even if the nerve does regenerate, the pain might return with it.
PEMF can help patients speed up the recovery and regeneration of these “burnt” nerves, and increase their chances of successful recovery.
Additionally, PEMF therapy can work on its own to stimulate your nerves and aid in neuroregeneration and neurogenesis.
The best frequencies to use are mid-range. However, in some cases, stronger frequencies have yielded great results as well.
The time required for PEMF stimulation is longer than for many other health conditions, and it should usually last for several hours a day.
Numerous studies have been conducted so far that have proved the efficiency of PEMF therapy for nerve repair.
Most of these studies were done on animals, so below we will present you with a reputable study completed on rats in 1983.
A Study on PEMF Therapy and Nerve Repair
This is a study that was completed in 1983, and focused on the effects of PEMF therapy on the regeneration and degeneration of the common peroneal nerve of rats.
The scientists in chief of the study were RE Bowden and AR Raji. (2)
This study used standardized histological, operative, cytological, and morphometric methods to achieve the final results.
The male rats used in the study were of the same age, came from the same environmental conditions, and had the same type of lesion.
In 12 pairs of rats, the left common peroneal nerve was crushed above the knee, and in the second pair of 12 rats, the same nerve was cut and immediately sutured in the same place.
The right common peroneal nerve served as a control in each rat.
The animals received either real PEMF treatment or placebo treatment for 15 minutes for periods of between three and a half days and eight weeks after the injury.
The assessment after the treatment showed that there was a significant difference between the PEMF and the placebo groups.
PEMF improved the regeneration of the injured limbs, as well as the degeneration, regeneration, and maturation of myelinated axons.
It also reduced perineural, intraneural, and epineural fibrosis. Finally, the luminal cross-sectional area of intraneural vessels increased after the lesions.
Therefore, we can conclude that PEMF therapy can greatly improve neuroregeneration of crushed and cut nerves, and increase the chances of full recovery.
However, the methods are still not completely clear, and there is a need for further clinical trials, but the results are encouraging.
Other Benefits of PEMF Therapy
On top of being able to promote neuroregeneration by decreasing the time required for nerve repair and increasing the chances of successful recovery, PEMF therapy can help us with many other health conditions.
Some of them include pain management, diabetes, range of motion, and so on.
However, the complete list is much longer, and would require a more extensive article.
So, in the part below, we’ll focus just on science-based PEMF health benefits to the most common health conditions.
Decreases Diabetic Factors
People who suffer from diabetes often develop a condition called diabetic polyneuropathy.
This condition occurs as a complication of diabetes, and it can wreak havoc on our nervous system.
It is characterized by feelings of weakness and numbness on both sides of the body.
In 2003, a study was conducted that proved PEMF therapy has positive health effects for patients suffering from this condition.
After the treatment, the symptoms of DPN in the subjects were reduced, and their nerve function was increased. (3)
Therefore, this is additional evidence that proves the beneficial effects of PEMF on nerve damage.
Improves Range of Motion
In patients suffering from cervical osteoarthritis, the range of motion is severely decreased in affected muscles.
This muscle degeneration happens gradually, and worsens until it may eventually completely incapacitate a person.
A study published in Clinical Rheumatology showed that when patients were treated with PEMF therapy, they experienced fewer muscle spasms and less pain caused by cervical osteoarthritis.
The researchers concluded that PEMF is a viable form of treatment for a range of motion issues in CO. (4)
Improves Bone Healing
Nonunion fractures are fractures that do not heal completely after a certain period.
This happens for a variety of reasons, and the most common form of treatment is surgery to attach the bones once again.
However, the Bangladesh Medical Research Council conducted a study in 1999 that proved that PEMF therapy could significantly improve the healing of nonunion fractures.
This research included 13 nonunion fracture patients, and lasted for 14 weeks. At the end of the treatment, 11 patients out of 13 experienced successful recovery. (5)
Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by swelling, pain, and inflammation.
It usually affects the knees, hips, and knuckles, but it can afflict other joints in the body, as well.
It is a progressive disease, so it becomes worse and worse over time.
The Indian Medical Association conducted a study in 1998 that proved that PEMF therapy could successfully treat the symptoms of RA.
After the study, all patients who were involved reported milder symptoms of RA, and a much better condition overall. (6)
Promotes Blood Flow
PEMF therapy promotes blood flow in two main ways.
The first is through vasodilation, and the second is by improving the red blood cells’ charge.
Through vasodilatation, PEMF therapy increases the amount of blood that reaches a specific part of the body.
By improving the red blood cells’ charge, it stops them from clotting together, and allows the blood to carry more oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body.
Researchers at Wake Forest University proved that PEMF therapy causes vasodilation, and could improve the blood flow both locally and in a generalized way throughout the body. (7)
PEMF therapy can act as a substitute for harmful painkillers.
Even though painkillers are often essential in managing pain quickly, they also cause many debilitating side effects, and can be quite habit-forming.
In 1993, the International Pain Research Institute conducted a study that examined how PEMF therapy affected pain levels in patients suffering from pelvic pain.
Patients suffering from depression often have two options to address their condition: Taking antidepressants, and undergoing psychotherapy.
Both are very effective methods of relieving depression.
However, many patients do not respond well to either.
But a study completed in Denmark shows that PEMF therapy has significant effects on relieving depression when used in conjunction with antidepressants.
This was especially noticeable in patients who were resistant to antidepressants prior to PEMF stimulation. (9)
A study completed in the US in 1999 showed that PEMF therapy is a successful form of migraine treatment.
The subjects in the study received PEMF therapy for one month, and their condition was assessed one month before and one month after the study.
Almost all patients reported significant improvement in migraine frequency and intensity at the one-month follow-up assessment.
Therefore, PEMF could be an essential new way of treating migraines that does not include medications or surgery. (10)
Patients who suffer a nerve injury are often left hopeless, and never reach full recovery.
Even if some recovery is achieved, the process itself proves to be a long and painstaking one.
It is thus important to share with more people the fact that PEMF therapy aids nerve repair.
Even though not even PEMF therapy can always completely heal a damaged nerve, it can decrease the time needed for recovery, and also improve overall recovery.
What is most important, PEMF therapy also successfully treats pain, which is always one of the main symptoms of nerve damage.
PEMF therapy, unlike drugs and surgery, is a completely safe and non-invasive form of treatment that people of all ages and health conditions can use without the risk of any side effects.
For best results, it is best to use mid -range frequencies and intensities, and be persistent.
Nerve repair sometimes takes months, depending on the level of injury, so it is important to use PEMF therapy on a regular basis in order to maximize results.