The Study of efficacy and safety of Electromagnetic therapy device in chronic pain treatment - Part 5

 

Discussion

Even though the numbers of subjects are relatively small due to 16 subjects did not come to follow up visits, it still could demonstrate the effectiveness of electromagnetic treatment in pain relief.

There were statistically significant differences in derived pain parameters observed in treated and control group.


Due to the nature of the study, it was difficult to make sure that double-blind design could be strictly executed due to the fact that subjects might have noticed the differences produced by vibrations of the devices.

However, the study was done in the best manner to maintain the double-blind condition. The nurse who was responsible for operating the device was not involved in data collection. The subjects were allowed to use only the same devices every time.

Attempts were made to have the subjects come at the different periods of time in order to prevent them from sharing experiences they had after receiving treatment.

It is also evident that many subjects in control group did complete their treatments for 6 weeks. Therefore, most subjects could not be aware of the actual treatment they received.

By random allocations as being done in this study, it was not easy to make the two groups comparable in all respects. It is inevitable to have several variables differ somewhat such as age, diseases and pain severity. However, the analysis of covariance did not point out that such variables may affect the result of statistical outcome.

There have been several studies indicating the efficacy of electromagnetic therapy in the treatment of chronic pain conditions. However, the registration of the electromagnetic devices in most countries still does not allow such claim.

The mechanism of action of devices for pain relief was proposed by Dr. Ron Lawrence. He was the American neurologist who set up the first pain center in USA for more than 45 years ago. He explained that electromagnetic therapy is likely to relieve pain by causing muscle relaxation and increase in blood flow.

Dr. Lawrence measured the amount of blood flow through the fingers after receiving electromagnetic therapy. It was found that blood flow was increased up to 300% for 5 minutes.

The capillaries regulate blood circulation and normally close down about 80% until oxygen is needed in a muscle greater quantity or waste products are needed to be taken away. The dilation of capillaries results in an increase in blood circulation and helps to remove pain and inflammatory mediators from pain areas in body.

In addition, a group of researchers believed that electromagnetic energy works by movement of energy.

In human body, there are ions. Some are positive such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Some are negative such as chloride and phosphate. Ions having similar charges would expel each other, while those having opposite charges attract each other. The movements of these ions can be stimulated by electromagnetic energy.

The other possible mechanism of action in pain relief is to produce muscle relaxation. In addition to the results indicated in this report, the investigations also measured galvanic resistance before and after the electromagnetic therapy in 30 minutes.

The galvanic resistance was found to be decreased significantly especially when comparing the results observed in treated and control groups. Therefore, it can be concluded that muscle relaxation may also contribute to pain relief produce by electromagnetic therapy.

The safety evaluation of electromagnetic devices did not indicate any significant alteration in physical examinations and laboratory result except for the decrease in blood pressure which results from vascular dilation.

It is also possible to be due to medical treatment for hypertension given by internist to the subjects and rule out all possible contraindications.

The studies performed by Drs. Carlos Vallbona and Carlton Hazlewood indicated that electromagnetic devices producing low intensity energy are very safe. But they are not recommended for use in pregnant women and patients having pacemakers and metal insertions.

In conclusion, electromagnetic devices tested in this study showed efficacy and safety when being used continuously for a period of six weeks. They may be employed as the alternative treatment for chronic pain conditions.

However, they should be given in conjunction with conventional medical treatments and should not be sued as the only form of treatment. They should be avoided in those people who have contraindications for the uses of electromagnetic devices.

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