||MAGNETIC FIELDS FOR PAIN RELIEF
by Marko Markov, PhD.
Author of BIOELECTROMAGNETIC
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
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
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
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.