Prospective, randomized, single-blind, sham treatment-controlled study of the safety and efficacy of an electromagnetic field device for the treatment of chronic low back pain: A pilot study

R. N. Harden*, T. A. Remble, T. T. Houle, J. F. Long, M. S. Markov, M. A. Gallizzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of therapeutic electromagnetic fields (TEMF) on chronic low back pain. Secondary objectives included the investigation of the effects of TEMF on psychometric measures. Setting: Pain Research center in an Urban Academic Rehabilitation Facility. Design: Prospective, randomized, single-blind, placebo (sham)treatment-controlled design in which participants were evaluated over a 6-week period. A total of 40 subjects were randomly assigned: 20 subjects to 15 milliTESLA (mT) treatment using a prototype electromagnetic field device and 20 to sham treatment. Interventions: After a 2-week baseline period, eligible individuals were randomized to one of the treatment groups (sham or 15 mT) for six 30-minute treatments over 2 weeks, then a 2-week follow-up period. Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measure was the self-report of pain severity using a 100 mm visual analog scale collected using a twice daily McGill Pain Questionnaire-Short Form. Several secondary measures were assessed. Results: Both groups (15 mT and sham) improved over time(P < 0.05). Although groups were similar during the treatment period, treated subjects (TEMF of 15 mT) improved significantly over sham treatment during the 2-week follow-up period (20.5% reduction in pain; F1,34 = 10.62, P = 0.003). There were no reported serious adverse events. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that TEMF may be an effective and safe modality for the treatment of chronic low back pain disorders. More studies are needed to test this hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalPain Practice
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007

Keywords

  • Chronic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Magneto therapy
  • Therapeutic electromagnetic fields (TEMF)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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