MAGNETIC FIELDS FOR PAIN RELIEF
by Marko Markov, PhD.

Author of BIOELECTROMAGNETIC MEDICINE

A Buffalo native Dr. Bamba recently wrote, “We must make managing pain a priority.” I was astonished. During all my life I believe that the treatment and management of pain been a priority in medicine. Now the medical literature reports the 75 million Americans each year are suffering from chronic pain. Hasn’t this always been a priority of American medicine?

If pain is the reason for 80% of the visits to doctor’s offices, what are doctors trained to do about pain, and how are they doing what they are trained? This is a question which American medicine answers wrongly. At least half of patients searching for pain relief spend less than 10 minutes in the doctor’s office and go home with prescriptions or suggestions to use Motrin, Advil, Vioxx, or some opiates. People go to pharmacies and purchase the prescribed medication and take it. In many cases after the first pill, relief comes. However, after several hours the pain comes back. You take another pill and the story is repeated. Eventually you go to the doctor again and get larger doses or stronger medication, with the same success or, more accurately, with no success.

What happened? The medications (at least most of them) do not treat pain, they just convince the brain and/or the nerves for a period of time to neglect the signals, i.e. put the brain to sleep for those signals. Today medicine does not look for the cause, but for manifestation of pain and treats the manifestation, not the cause. Even Dr. Jane Ballantyne, Director of Massachusetts General Hospital wrote, “Pain diagnostics is a guessing game.” If she is right, it is very sad not only for the discipline of medicine, but for the whole society.

AN ALTERNATIVE: Obviously, some things need to be changes. Where to start with changes? First of all, today western medicine is based mainly on the achievements of chemistry which have been further utilized and expanded by the pharmaceutical industry. Unfortunately, nearly all pharmaceuticals affect not only the target tissues, but the entire organism and in many cases cause adverse effects. The question remains, “What is the target?” Second, today’s methods of delivering drugs require overdosing the patient in order for the target tissue to receive the therapeutic dose. Third, medical education for the most part is bases upon the chemical/pharmacological approach and students do not receive proper information for the potential of any alternative modalities.

There is increasing evidence that magnetic/electromagnetic fields are the future of pain therapy. In sharp contrast with pharmacological approach, magnetotherapy provides non-invasive, safe and easily applied methods to directly treat the site of injury, the source of pain and inflammation of dysfunction. Thus magnetotherapy has little, if any side effects, especially keeping in mind that in order to reach the appropriate concentration of pharmacological agents, the patients are pressed to take dosages which are several magnitudes larger.

Therapeutic procedures of magnetic fields are usually applied in well controlled conditions, for short periods of time (mainly 60 minutes or less), in 10 to 15 minutes sessions. Based on available evidence worldwide, it is easy to say that the therapeutic application of magnetic fields do not create any dangerous situations for the patient.

I did not invent the bicycle. Magnetic field therapy has become more and more popular despite the efforts of pharmaceutically based medicine to diminish the importance of this modality. During the past 25 years, more than two million patients have been treated worldwide for a large variety of injuries, pathologies and diseases. This large number of patients exhibited a success rate of approximately 80% with virtually no report reproducible complications. In the USA, low frequency electromagnetic fields were used for treatment of pain associated with low back pain, rotator cuff tendonitis, multiple sclerosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and periathritis. For example, an improvement was observed in 93% of the patients suffering from carpal tunnel pain, and 83% in rotator cuff tendonitis. It was also reported that 65% of the patients who received daily treatment over 8 weeks for rotator cuff tendonitis were pain-free at the end of the study, as well as 70% of the multiple sclerosis patients who received 15 treatments with electromagnetic fields reported a reduction in spasticity, improvement of bladder control and improvement in endurance. A similar treatment was used for migraines, chronic pelvic pain, neck pain, and whiplash injuries. In parallel with improvement after the injury, a reduction in the pain of 35% for patients having migraines, accompanied by a significant reduction in occurrence of headaches was reported.

Together with Dr. Paul Rosch, President of the American Institute of Stress, I recently published the book BIOELECTROMAGNETIC MEDICINE. In 50 chapters, 86 of the world’s recognized experts described the possibilities to treat various clinical problems. Starting with known success in fracture healing, going through wound closure and muscle stimulation to cancer healing, Parkinson’s and epilepsy diseases, examples were given to magnetic field usage in Europe, Asia and North America. Several other chapters of the boom of magnetic field therapy include successful treatment of multiple sclerosis, migraine, and macular degeneration.

Since the middle of the 1990s, permanent magnets have become widely used in the US for pain relief. It is interesting that the driving force here is supposed to be the patients, not the medical community. After hearing from friends and relatives that magnets may help, patients ask the physicians whether “magnets can help them.” In most cases the medical professional answers, “no”, because medical practitioners are not yet educated to consider alternatives to their chemical/pharmaceutical approach.

Let’s go to some facts. Several recent studies report reduction of pain in post-polio patients (up to 76%), fibromyalgia (up to 32%), peripheral neuropathy (up to 33%), and post-surgical wounds (37-65%). These recent studies reported pain management for different etiologies and sites of pain. They demonstrate the potential of a magnetic field to provide significant pain relief in different disorders. One should not forget the magnetic fields possess anti-inflammatory properties and an appropriate choice of the site of the application and parameters of applied magnetic fields may reduce inflammation and thus may help in pain relief. The new approach toward the use of magnetic fields for pain relief was proposed recently. Using the THERAMAG device, one might treat a limb of the human body and because of systemic effects, a relief of a series of medical problems, including chronic pain may be achieved at a distance from the application site that needs relief. How does this work? The mechanism(s) of action are under investigation now.

Recent results show significant reduction in pain reported by victims of chronic pain, reflex sympathetic disorders, diabetes, cancer, among other health problems. More scientific and clinical data needs to be collected and analyzed.