Electromagnetic therapy relieves osteoarthritis pain
Researchers from Henry Ford Health System have discovered that electromagnetic therapy relieved pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee by forty percent with just one treatment. Electromagnetic pulses are delivered through a lightweight portable device that straps to the knee; emitting a low-intensity pulsating electromagnetic frequency.
Fred Nelson, M.D., associate program director for research and director of the Osteoarthritis Center, Department of Orthopaedics, Henry Ford Hospital says, "Our results show pulsed electromagnetic fields caused a significant decrease in pain". Osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the leading causes of disability that causes cartilage in the knee joint to gradually erode. The condition is associated with aging, trauma and infection.
Osteoarthritis of the knee is commonly treated with anti-inflammatory medications, weight loss, physical therapy, and surgery. Anti-inflammatory medications carry significant health risks for kidney and liver health and can also lead to heart failure in vulnerable patients.
"The exciting thing about this new approach is that it has been found to have no side effects, it is relatively low-cost in the long-run and the onset of pain relief is immediate," says Dr. Nelson. "We look at electromagnetic pulses as a potential way to improve quality of life and independence for those who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee."
Patients were given either and active or inactive device for comparison, using the small, ring-shaped plastic device strapped around their knees for 15 minutes, twice a day for six weeks. The electromagnetic device contains a coil that for each group appeared to be working. Delivering a specific electromagnetic pulse sequence and frequency leads to "fine tuning" of the cellular environment to decrease osteoarthritis pain and inflammation explains Dr. Nelson.
The study included 34 patients. Patients using the device for electromagnetic therapy experience a 40 percent reduction in osteoarthritis pain the first day. The findings will be presented by Dr. Nelson at the Orthopaedic Research Society's annual meeting in New Orleans this week. The researchers plan to explore electromagnetic therapy for treating other types of joint pain.