Lumbar radiculopathy in 100 patients and the whiplash syndrome in 92 patients were the topic of Thuile and Walzl’s study. All of them were treated with low-frequency pulsed magnetic therapy (twice a day for two weeks) with 64 Hz frequency and 0.01-0.03 mT intensity.
Pulsed magnetic therapy can effectively treat not only acute, but also chronic pain. Chronic pain is typically caused by nerve compression due to degenerative changes of the spine. Back pain and the whiplash syndrome are widespread illnesses that result in large financial expenses and extensive medical efforts. A rapid relief from symptoms, especially pain, is desirable.
In two randomized groups, this controlled clinical trial was assessing both patients with lumbar radiculopathy in spinal segment L5/S1 (impairment of nerve root) and patients with so called whiplash syndrome. This syndrome refers to a possible neck injury usually caused by some sudden impact that throws head backwards into extreme extension.
Besides pulsed magnetic therapy, both active and control groups were also taking anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics (diclofenac and tizanidine).
In the case of lumbar radiculopathy, the relief from pain and painless walking came on average within 8.2 days in the group undergoing pulse magnetic therapy, whereas in the control group it took 11.7 days.
Pain in patients with the whiplash syndrome was measured on a ten point scale.
Headache in the group undergoing pulsed magnetic therapy dropped on average from 4.6 to 2.1, while in the control group it decreased from 4.2 to 3.5.
At the same time, neck pain decreased from 6.3 to 1.9 in patients treated with pulsed magnetic therapy, while in the control group it was only from 5.3 to 4.6.
Finally, shoulder and arm pain was reduced on average from 2.4 to 0.8 in the group affected by analgesic effects of pulsed magnetic field, but in the control group it decreased only from 2.8 to 2.2.
Results of the study show that pulsed magnetic therapy has a substantial and statisticallysignificant potential for pain relief in cases of lumbar radiculopathy and the whiplash syndrome.
Reference: Thuile, C. & Walzl, M. (2002) Evaluation of electromagnetic fields in the treatment of pain in patients with lumbar radiculopathy or the whiplash syndrome. NeuroRehabilitation. 17 (1), 63
Evaluation of electromagnetic fields in treatment of pain in patients with lumbar radiculopathy or the whiplash syndrome
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Related diagnosis: Nerve Compression (chronic)
Find out more about PEMF: Principle of Pulse Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF)