Pain management is a task with which modern medicine has been struggling, and nowadays many patients who suffer from persistent pain do not get adequate treatment.
The current majority of pain management modalities mostly rely on painkillers, which are effective but at the same time dangerous, due to various side effects and the risk of addiction.
In this article, we’ll explore another possibility of pain management with pulsed electromagnetic frequency therapy.
Numerous studies have been conducted so far that prove PEMF is an efficient and safe way of alleviating pain and improving patients’ quality of life.
Let’s delve deeper into those studies, and learn more about this form of therapy.
Types of Pain
Pain is defined as an unpleasant physical sensation that occurs as a result of an illness or an injury.
Pain is actually good for us, even though it might be hard to understand that.
Through pain, our body tells us that something is wrong, and that we should take action to fix whatever is damaged or doesn’t work properly.
Nonetheless, it can be uncomfortable and difficult to cope with.
We feel pain through our nerve fibers, which send signals to our brain for interpretation.
Therefore, the treatment of pain can be targeted at the nerves, but also at the brain and our way of “reading into” pain.
Pain can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic).
Acute pain lasts for a short period, and it is our body’s way of notifying us of an injury. Resolving the underlying cause of this type of pain will usually make it disappear.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, lasts for much longer, and it is often impossible to resolve it completely. It can be caused by chronic diseases, such as arthritis or migraines.
Causes of Pain and Main Indicators
We feel pain when the special nerves in our body, called nociceptors, send signals to our brain about its existence.
After that, the brain interprets the signals and decides what to do.
If you touch something hot, your muscles with immediately flex as a reflex, which is your brain’s way of protecting you.
Our brain will sometimes also release dopamine to counter the unpleasant feelings that pain causes.
That is why some people actually enjoy certain types of pain.
There is no way of diagnosing pain other than using the information that a person shares with their medical practitioner.
However, there are certain indicators that tell us that a person is experiencing pain, such as:
- Groaning and moaning
- Resistance to care
- Sleeping problems
- Reduced social interactions
Pain Management Practices
Because there are so many different types of pain, there are different ways of treating it.
Acute pain will usually be treated with medication.
However, many people are reluctant to use this because of side effects.
There are certain alternatives to painkillers that are also effective.
The most popular ones are:
- Nerve blocks
- Relaxation techniques
- Heat and cold
However, another very efficient and completely safe method of treating pain that is becoming more and more popular is PEMF therapy.
It has been supported by numerous studies that show its benefits in managing different types of pain, both acute and chronic.
PEMF Therapy and Pain Management
PEMF therapy has rightfully earned its place in pain management.
It is an effective substitute for the harmful painkillers that sometimes do more bad than good long-term.
Painkillers cause a variety of side effects, and are often not suitable for children or the elderly.
However, PEMF therapy is completely safe and non-invasive, and it can be used by people of all ages and health conditions.
Even though pain management is one of the most popular uses of PEMF, many people find this solution at the end of their search after exhausting most other options.
PEMF is so efficient at pain management that some research compares it to receiving 10 mg of morphine.
PEMF is especially effective against chronic pain.
Chronic pain occurs because of tiny nerve networks that are constantly inflamed over a long period.
PEMF stimulation cures this inflammation, and helps the nerves to recover.
High-intensity PEMF stimulation is especially successful in such cases.
A Study on PEMF and Pain Management
A study was completed in 1994 at the International Pain Research Institute in Los Angeles, California.
The scientists in chief of the study were Frome BM, Jorgensen WA, and Wallach C.
The study explored the possibility of using PEMF therapy for managing pelvic pain due to tissue trauma. (1)
Scientists report that very effective and long-lasting relief of pelvic pain was obtained by short periods of PEMF stimulation of minimal amplitude.
This stimulation initiated the electrochemical process of electroporation inside a 25cm2 focal area.
The report also adds that these treatments were short, fast-acting, economical, and that they have made surgeries redundant.
The cases described in the report included health conditions such as endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, ruptured ovarian cyst, postoperative hematoma, acute urinary tract infection, and more.
In most cases, they add, PEMF therapy was not supplemented by painkillers.
The study involved 18 female patients with a total of 20 episodes of pelvic pain.
Of these 20 episodes, 11 episodes were acute, 7 were chronic, and 2 were both acute and chronic.
Sixteen patients, who represented 18 episodes of pelvic pain (90%), reported significant and even dramatic relief after PEMF stimulation.
On the other hand, two patients who represented two episodes of pain reported less than complete pain relief after stimulation.
As we can see, in around 90% of cases, PEMF therapy successfully alleviated both acute and chronic pelvic pain caused by different gynecological health conditions.
Therefore, it can be concluded that PEMF is a successful way of dealing with pain of different origins.
Even though this study focused on pelvic pain and female patients, PEMF therapy is not limited just to these circumstances.
This is clear through numerous cases of PEMF pain management, as well as through a multitude of studies publicly available that prove this.
Other Benefits of PEMF Therapy
Just as PEMF therapy can treat different types of pain and pain of different origins, it can also be used to treat many other health conditions, as well.
PEMF therapy can be used as an effective treatment of both physical and psychological health conditions, both acute and chronic.
Some of these effects of PEMF on various diseases are reported just through positive experience of the people who used it; however, most of these effects are documented through numerous studies.
Take a look at our list of most popular and most well-known science-backed benefits of PEMF therapy.
PEMF Alleviates Arthritis Symptoms
If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, symptoms such as swelling, pain, and inflammation are probably a constant part of your life.
RA is a progressive disease, so, unfortunately, these symptoms only become worse and worse as time goes by.
However, a study conducted in India in 1998 showed that PEMF therapy could significantly reduce these symptoms.
PEMF Treats Migraines
Migraines are an intermittent disease, which means that the symptoms come and go.
They occur in “waves,” and a patient never knows when the next migraine attack will happen.
Once it does, it can completely disrupt their life.
In the case of a migraine attack, the best option was to take a painkiller and wait for the pain to go away.
However, a study completed in 1999 showed that PEMF therapy is a successful way of treating migraines, as well.
The subjects of the study were tested one month after the study, and all of them reported a significant decrease in both frequency and intensity of their migraine attacks. (3)
Decreases Diabetic Factors
Anyone who suffers from diabetes is at risk of developing different diabetic-related complications.
One such complication is diabetic polyneuropathy.
This health condition is characterized by pain, numbness, and weakness on both sides of the body.
A study published in 2003 in Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology showed that PEMF therapy is directly linked to milder symptoms of diabetic polyneuropathy.
On top of that, PEMF stimulation improved nerve function in the affected nerves. (4)
Improves Range of Motion
A health condition called cervical osteoarthritis is known to cause a significant decrease in the range of motion of certain muscles.
Soon after getting this disease, patients struggle to remain as mobile as before.
Clinical Rheumatology conducted a study that showed that PEMF offers new hope to these patients.
PEMF stimulation improved range of motion and reduced the pain and the frequency of muscle spasms that these patients also experience. (5)
Improves Blood Circulation
Poor blood circulation is very common nowadays, and happens for many different reasons.
Many of those have to do with poor lifestyle choices, and the consequences can be serious.
Poor blood circulation can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other complications.
PEMF therapy promotes proper blood flow through vasodilatation.
When we apply PEMF stimulation to an affected area, the blood vessels in that area stretch and are able to take in more blood.
This health effect is beneficial for other conditions as well, such as the treatment of injuries and wound healing.
These effects have been documented in a study conducted at Wake Forest University. (6)
When antidepressants do not work, it is easy for depressed patients to start losing hope.
Unfortunately, at least 30% of patients who use antidepressants do not respond well to this treatment.
Luckily, researchers in Denmark found out that PEMF can be used to relieve symptoms of depression.
The best effects were achieved when PEMF was used together with antidepressants in patients who initially did not respond well to the medication.
However, after the PEMF treatment, they reported much improved mental condition. (7)
Improves Nerve Repair
Sciatic nerve injury is a type of injury that can significantly affect all aspects of our life.
It incapacitates the person who is suffering from it, and the most common solution they resort to is taking painkillers.
However, a study completed on rats showed that PEMF therapy significantly improved the nerve repair in rats with sciatic nerve lesions.
The rats showed much greater recovery with PEMF treatment, compared to rats that received placebo treatment. (8)
Enhances Bone Healing
PEMF therapy can also work wonders for nonunion fractures.
These are fractures that do not heal properly after the initial treatment, and usually require surgery to repair them.
In 1999, a study was conducted in Bangladesh that examined how PEMF therapy could help with nonunion fractures.
The scientists reported that after 14 weeks of PEMF stimulation, 11 out of 13 patients in the study experienced successful healing of their fractures. (9)
Pain management is possibly one of the most important effects that PEMF has on our body.
Pain is a very common condition that affects millions of people worldwide, who are often left to deal with it on their own.
Now, with PEMF therapy, these people have a new way of relieving pain that they can use on a daily basis, both as a cure and as a preventative measure.
PEMF therapy can successfully treat both acute and chronic pain, and address the very cause of the pain as well, so as to provide long-term pain relief.
The study presented in this article observed pelvic pain, but the uses of PEMF for pain management are much broader than that.
Anyone who suffers from pain can use a full body PEMF mat to administer PEMF therapy at home, on their own.
Additionally, smaller PEMF pads or PEMF pillows can be used to target a specific painful area in the body.
The best feature of PEMF is that it can be used over long periods, even for the rest of one’s life, without the risk of any side effects or negative health effects.