Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields can Reduce Pain in the Short Term in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis

Summary of: Bagnato GL, Miceli G, Marino N, Sciortino D, Bagnato GF. Pulsed electromagnetic fields in knee osteoarthritis: a double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Rheumatology (Oxford) 2016;55:755-762.

Question: Can daily treatment with pulsed electromagnetic fields decrease pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis? Design: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Setting: One Italian rheumatology outpatient clinic. Participants: People aged over 40 years with a diagnosis of primary osteoarthritis of the knee according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria; symptomatic disease for the last 6 months with persistent pain defined as a minimal mean score of 40 mm on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) despite receiving maximal tolerated doses of conventional medication. Randomisation allocated 33 patients to active treatment and 33 to placebo treatment. Interventions: Participants in the treatment group were given a pulsed electromagnetic fields wearable device, while those in the placebo group received a device with no electromagnetic properties. The devices that were used are commercially available and the placebo devices were identical to the active devices, including a light-emitting diode light showing operation. The devices were used 12 hours daily for 1 month. Outcome measures: A blinded assessor administered the outcome measures at 1 month (end of treatment): pain measured on a VAS (VAS-pain, 0 to 100); the

Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, subscale pain (WOMAC-pain); and the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36 version-2 (SF-36) physical and mental component summary scores (0 to 100). Results: A total of 60 participants (91%) completed the assessment at 1 month. The mean difference was 13.6 units (95% CI 7.9 to 19.3) in VAS-pain and 5.6 units (95% CI 2.9 to 8.4) in WOMAC-pain, both favouring the active pulsed electromagnetic fields group. There were minor differences in favour of the pulsed electromagnetic fields group in the SF-36 physical health (mean difference 2.7 units, 95% CI 0.3 to 5.2) and the SF-36 mental health (mean difference 0.5 units, 95% CI –1.5 to 2.6). Conclusion: In patients with painful knee osteoarthritis, pulsed electromagnetic fields decreased pain, but had little impact on health-related quality of life. Provenance: Invited. Not peer reviewed.

Ka ̊ re Birger Hagena and Margreth Grotleba National Advisory Unit on Rehabilitation in Rheumatology, Department of Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital b Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Department of Physiotherapy, Oslo, Norway

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Glenn Streeter

With a degree in Exercise Physiology, emphasizing Sports Medicine and Philosophy, Glenn has been practicing Sports Physiology and Energy Medicine for over thirty years. His clients include world champion and national caliber athletes from a variety of disciplines, as well as celebrities. An avid off-road motorcycle and mountain bike racer, Glenn knows the value of Energy Medicine and pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy. In his holistic healing practice, Glenn employs a variety of PEMF devices, and contributes his knowledge to the alternative medicine community via syndicated radio programs, prominent news outlets, and online subscription services, including Boulder County's Gaia and Rense.com. In addition to co-founding Vital Life Services, acting as the company's spokesperson, Glenn also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for Pulsed Harmonix, a Colorado based PEMF device company offering state of the art technology at an affordable price.