Knee Pain? PEMF Therapy May be Your Drug-free Solution

How One Study Showed that PEMF Therapy Reduced the Need for Pain Meds

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, causing pain and disability for millions of people globally. OA occurs when the cartilage of joints that cushions the bones wears down over time. This bone-on-bone effect can lead to many debilitating symptoms including pain, stiffness, loss of flexibility, and swelling due to inflammation. OA most commonly effects the joints in knees, hips, hands and spine.

Unfortunately, the damage OA causes cannot be reversed; leading many sufferers to require joint replacement surgeries. Symptom management techniques have typically included staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and cortisone injections. 

A Need for Alternatives.

If you have been living with OA pain, you are probably no stranger to taking NSAIDs on a regular basis (you may know these medications by their brand names, which include Excedrin®, Advil® and Aleve®). While NSAIDs are generally considered the go-to treatment for OA pain, their chronic use has been shown to increase acute renal failure, peptic ulcer disease, heart attacks and strokes. 

There is a pressing need to find safe and effective alternatives to NSAIDs in order to avoid their toxic effects; particularly in older people. Research into pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) treatments is exciting because of its potential to provide non-toxic alternatives to pain medication, while also being non-invasive (unlike cortisone injections).

For the medical community to embrace PEMF treatments as a viable alternative for treating OA pain, it’s important to have research that proves the positive results are more than a placebo effect. The following study does just that. 

A Look at the Research.

In a 2015 study published by Rheumatoid (Oxford, England), the effectiveness of PEMF wearable device was compared against a placebo device with no electromagnetic properties. 

The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial; a design considered to be the gold standard for research. The placebo device was identical in appearance to the PEMF device, and energy from the PEMF device could not be felt by the user. 

The study examined the effectiveness of the PEMF device for:

  • Pain intensity

  • Pain threshold (the pressure at which pain is first felt)

  • Improvements in quality of life

  • Changes in the intake of pain medications (NSAIDs)

In the study, sixty patients wore the devices on their knees at night and were re-evaluated regarding the safety and efficacy of the treatment a month later. 

Promising Results.

The study found significant differences between the PEMF and placebo groups, including:

  • Improvement of stiffness and function scores with PEMF treatment

  • Decreased pain scores with PEMF treatment

  • Improved pain threshold (pressure at which a person first feels pain) with the PEMF treatment 

  • An improvement in physical health among the PEMF group based on the quality of life questionnaire 

When it came to the use of medication for pain, 26% of patients in the PEMF group were able to stop previously prescribed medications, compared to just 3% in the placebo group. 

What this Means for Suffers.

The study results indicate that PEMF therapy is a promising option for the treatment of chronic pain in knee osteoarthritis. Importantly, the PEMF treatments in this study were shown to be safe and effective for home-based pain management, without the toxic effects of long-term pain medication use. In addition to experiencing less pain, those in the study’s PEMF group demonstrated improved mobility and improved physical health; leading to an overall better quality of life. 

For the millions of people around the world living with osteoarthritis, PEMF therapy may be the key to finding relief and moving more freely—without the toxic side effects. 

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