Osteoarthritis (OA) and the clinical effects of pulsed electromagnetic field

A double-blind trial

D. H. Trock, A. J. Bollet, R. H. Dyer Jr., L. P. Fielding, W. K. Miner and R. Markoll, Danbury Hospital, St. Mary´s Hospital, Waterbury, CT, USA

Objective: Further evaluation of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF), which have been used to treat delayed union fractures for over a decade. Methods: A double-blind randomized trial, 27 patients with osteoarthritis (OA), primarily of the knee.

Patients were treated with PEMF. The treatment consisted of 18 half-hour periods of exposure over about 1 month using a specially designed noncontact device. Observations were made of 6 clinical variables at the baseline, midpoint of therapy, end of treatment and one month later. 25 patients completed the treatment. Results: An average improvement of 23-61 % was seen in the clinical variables with active the treatment, while a 2 to 18% improvement was observed in these variables in the placebo treated control patients. No toxicity was observed.

Conclusion: The reduced pain and improved functional performance of treated patients suggests that this configuration of PEMF has potential as an effective method of improving symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis Arthritis of the knee and magnetic therapy.

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