Exposure to a specific pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) has been shown to produce analgesic (antinociceptive) effects in many organisms.
In a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled clinical trial, patients with either chronic generalized pain from Fibromyalgia (FM) or chronic localized musculoskeletal or inflammatory pain were exposed to a PEMF (400 muT) through a portable device fitted to their head during twice-daily 40 min treatments over seven days.
The effect of this PEMF on pain reduction was recorded using a visual analogue scale.
A differential effect of PEMF over sham treatment was noticed in patients with FM, which approached statistical significance (P=0.06) despite low numbers (n=17);
This effect was not evident in those without FM (P=0.93; n=15).
PEMF may be a novel, safe and effective therapeutic tool for use in at least certain subsets of patients with chronic, nonmalignant pain. Clearly, however, a larger randomized, double-blind clinical trial with just FM patients is warranted.
Source: Pain Research & Management. 2007 Winter; 12(4):249-58. PMID: 18080043, by Thomas AW, Graham K, Prato FS, McKay J, Forster PM, Moulin DE, Chari S. University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.