Case Studies supporting PEMF benefits for Migraine
Pain Management with Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMF) Treatment William Pawluk, MD, MSc
In the past few years a new and fundamentally different approach has been increasingly investigated. This includes the use of magnetic fields (MF), produced by both static (permanent) and time-varied (most commonly, pulsed) magnetic fields (PEMFs). Fields of various strengths and frequencies have been evaluated. There is as yet no “gold standard”. The fields selected will vary based on experience, confidence, convenience and cost. Since there does not appear to be any major advantage to any one MF application, largely because of the unpredictability of ascertaining the true underlying source of the pain, regardless of the putative pathology, any approach may be used empirically and treatment adjusted based on the response. After thousands of patient-years of use globally, very little risk has been found to be associated with MF therapies. The primary precautions relate to implanted electrical devices and pregnancy and seizures with certain kinds of frequency patterns in seizure prone individuals.
Magnetic fields affect pain perception in many different ways. These actions are both direct and indirect. Direct effects of magnetic fields are: neuron firing, calcium ion movement, membrane potentials, endorphin levels, nitric oxide, dopamine levels, acupuncture actions and nerve regeneration. Indirect benefits of magnetic fields on physiologic function are on: circulation, muscle, edema, tissue oxygen, inflammation, healing, prostaglandins, cellular metabolism and cell energy levels.
The efficiency of pulsed electromagnetic field in refractory migraine headaches: a randomized, single-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel group
Background: The study attempts to investigate the effect of PEMF therapy on Refractory Migraines (RM), both those which were related and those which were not related to menstrual cycle, in a randomized, single blind, placebo-controlled study.
Methods: Thirty patients from the out-patient department of the Clinic of Neurology participated in this study. They had been diagnosed as sufferers of migraine or medication-overuse headaches by the corresponding author, who is an expert in headaches. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Tehran University of Medical Sciences and recorded in the www.clinicaltrials.gov website with the tracking number NCT01670214. The subjects were informed about the procedures involved in the study and gave written informed consent according to the Helsinki convention.
Results: There was a significant improvement for the active group in terms of their headache days, durations and work-loss hours due to headache compared to the placebo group after 2 weeks. The added results of the assessment of the active group indicated a significant improvement in the days and duration of headaches, work-loss hours and number of medications even after a following 4-8-month period. Headache intensity and the amount of medication used for headache were reduced only in RM patients that had headaches which were not related to their menstrual cycles.
Conclusions: PEMF (10 Hz, 4-5mT) can be considered as a beneficial and persistent prophylactic treatment option for refractory migraine.
Treatment of Migraine With Pulsing Electromagnetic Fields: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
The effect of exposure to pulsing electromagnetic fields on migraine activity was evaluated by having 42 subjects (34 women and 8 men), who met the International Headache Society’s criteria for migraine, participate in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Each subject kept a l-month, pretreatment, baseline log of headache activity prior to being randomized to having either actual or placebo pulsing electromagnetic fields applied to their inner thighs for 1 hour per day, 5 days per week, for 2 weeks. After exposure, all subjects kept the log for at least 1 follow-up month. During the first month of follow-up, 73% of those receiving actual exposure reported decreased headaches (45% good decrease, 14% excellent decrease) compared to half of those receiving the placebo (15% worse, 20% good, 0% excellent). Ten of the 22 subjects who had actual exposure received 2 additional weeks of actual exposure after their initial l-month follow up. All showed decreased headache activity (50% good, 38% excellent). Thirteen subjects from the actual exposure group elected not to receive additional exposure. Twelve of them showed decreased headache activity by the second month (29% good, 43% excellent). Eight of the subjects in the placebo group elected to receive 2 weeks of actual exposure after the initial l-month follow-up with 75% showing decreased headache activity (38% good, 38% excellent). In conclusion, exposure of the inner thighs to pulsing electromagnetic fields for at least 3 weeks is an effective, short-term intervention for migraine, but not tension headaches.
Case Study Reference Source:
1. Pain Management with Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMF) Treatment
(Authors: William Pawluk, MD, MSc)
2. The efficiency of pulsed electromagnetic field in refractory migraine headaches: a randomized, single-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel group
(Authors: Boshra Hatef, Fahime Hashemirad, Gholam Hossein Meftahi, Leila Simorgh, Soodeh Razeghi Jahromi, Forough Rahimi, Mansoureh Togha)
3. Treatment of Migraine With Pulsing Electromagnetic Fields: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
(Authors: "Richard A. Sherman, PhD", "Nancy M. Acosta, BS", "Linda Robson, BA")