Magnetic and electromagnetic fields started to be used as therapeutic modalities after the design and production of many kinds of electromagnetic signals during World War II. The existence of electric potentials in bones, including steady-state potential and stress-induced potential, was shown in the 1950s by Yasuda et al. Since then, researchers have stoked curiosity about how electricity affects bone formation and fracture healing, among other things.
In order to provide electromagnetic fields for osteogenesis stimulation, many devices have been designed. In 1977, Bassett et al. described the therapeutic use of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) in human congenital and acquired pseudarthrosis and non-unions, following their 1964 demonstration of the effects of electric currents on new bone development in vivo.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) then authorized PEMF stimulation to treat nonunion fractures in 1979. Following this, papers describing the effects of PEMF therapy on bone fracture repair were widely available in the literature.
One type of electromagnetic field therapy known as PEMF uses low frequency fields with certain waveforms and amplitudes that have a frequency range of 6 to 500 Hz. The fast rate of change (Tesla/s) that it exhibits causes bioelectric currents in tissues, which have unique biological effects.
It is important to note that low frequency fields have been found to be non-thermal and non-ionizing. Typically, electromagnetic fields utilized in clinical settings have frequencies under 100 Hz and magnetic flux densities ranging from 0.1 to 30 mT, which is generally considered safe.
More recent studies suggest that this noninvasive, safe, and effective therapy may be a viable adjuvant for treating a variety of musculoskeletal problems. However, there is still disagreement on the precise mode of action of PEMF at the cellular and molecular level.
Additionally, there are no established treatment methods or criteria for choosing parameter settings. Therefore, before they may be extensively used in clinical settings, significant clinical trials and validation are still required.
Clinical research has demonstrated various beneficial impacts PEMF therapy has on people's health. Among other good results, some of these favorable impacts include a decrease in the effects of stress, an increase in blood oxygenation, a faster rate of bone healing, a decrease in inflammation, and an improvement in muscle performance.
PEMF therapy is also employed in the improvement of mental health such as conditions like depression and anxiety. PEMF therapy operates on the principle of the passage of low-frequency electromagnetic radiation and stimulates organs, thereby activates cellular energy, and supports natural repair mechanisms.
The majority of PEMF side effects are minor, transient, and manageable as long as medication is continued. These reactions are more frequent and uncomfortable in those with electrical and electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Rarely does this necessitate stopping magnetic therapy.
In addition to many other effects, a few side effects are,
PEMF therapy has the effect of increasing blood flow or blood circulation throughout the body as one of its effects. Therefore, it is a form of therapy that is strongly suggested for those with impaired blood flow. However, it's crucial to remember that the increase in blood flow continues long even after the therapy is stopped.
The body may experience some unanticipated unfavorable effects from this, such as increased oxidative stress. This happens when the body contains too many free radicals. The body will be unable to cleanse and whose detrimental effects cannot be offset.
Excessive usage of opioids can cause internal bleeding, stomach issues, resistance, and even addiction in patients who are experiencing severe or chronic pain. Therefore, PEMF therapy is employed as a good substitute.
However, there are a few adverse effects connected with PEMF therapy. For instance, the pain may transiently worsen, which could be fatal for some people. Improved blood flow to the nerves or increased traffic to the nerve cells are the causes of this transient rise in pain.
It is recommended that PEMF therapy be started at the lowest possible intensity for patients who are experiencing extreme pain. Due to the fact that this therapy causes the body cells to use a lot of nutrients, nutritional insufficiency is another negative effect. In such a case, nutritional supplements can help.
Blood pressure and heart rate reduction are two additional negative effects of PEMF therapy. Some people may experience disastrous consequences from this side effect, particularly if they are elderly or have heart problems. This can result in dizziness and fainting.
For individuals receiving chemotherapy, PEMF therapy is not recommended. This is due to the fact that PEMF therapy encourages cell development and repair, which may encourage the growth of cancer cells. As a result, PEMF therapy has effects that counteract those of chemotherapy medications.
By beginning PEMF therapy after chemotherapy is finished, these negative effects can be avoided. More study is needed in this area, though, as some evidence indicates that PEMF therapy may actually assist chemotherapy medications in achieving their goal.
PEMF therapy also encourages blood clotting or coagulation. Hence, it shouldn't be taken with Aspirin or other anticoagulant medications.
Pregnant women are recommended to avoid PEMF because it is thought to be a teratogen (affects the fetus), despite the fact that there is still a lot of study to be done in this area. PEMF raises the chance of miscarriage, birth deformities, and has other potential adverse effects. Therefore, pregnant women should not be exposed to it.
The body's cells are exercised during the initial exposure to PEMF. Toxins exit the cells while the oxygen concentration in the cells rises. This involves some minor stretching and relaxing.
PEMF therapy side effects might include:
Lack of energy or interest in daily activities
Nausea and/ or vomiting
Twitching of muscles
Tooth sensitivity - feeling of pain or discomfort in the teeth
Tingling or abnormal sensation in the body
Patients may have a general feeling of discomfort
Feelings of warmth or cold.
Sensitivity of skin
Patients with dermatological disorders should refrain from receiving this kind of treatment. Additionally, pre-existing or underlying diseases like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome might make the negative effects of PEMF therapy worse before they get better.
When nutritional supplements are given before PEMF therapy begins, the majority of patients experience less side effects or negative effects.
Antioxidants can be given both before and during therapy to reduce free radicals and Oxidative stress. Patients are also encouraged to consume meals high in antioxidants. These consist of strawberries, apples, spinach, kale, and other fruits and vegetables.
Water consumption is another way to reduce adverse effects before, during, and after therapy.
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The use of PEMF therapy is safe. There are no reported serious concerns related to excessive exposure to the electromagnetic fields produced by the device, and there are no known major negative effects linked with the therapy. In fact, it is even possible to treat some illnesses, like Osteoporosis (bone problems), for as much as eight hours each day.
However, before beginning PEMF therapy, a few safety measures should be considered.
Because there is little scientific data to support the side effects and contraindications of PEMF therapy, certain precautions are advised for safe therapy. For this reason, if there are any of the following conditions, please refrain from getting PEMF therapy:
PEMF therapy could be harmful since the electromagnetic fields could prevent the pacemaker from operating as it should. There are new pacemakers available on the market with no warnings. To prevent negative consequences from PEMF therapy, make sure your equipment fits into this category by speaking to a doctor.
Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs), which support specific biophysical processes, stimulate the cell membrane. Bone calcification and enhanced blood flow in the treated area are among the numerous outcomes. For this reason, PEMF therapy is not recommended for youngsters whose growth period has not yet been fully completed.
Due to its noninvasiveness, safety, and efficacy, PEMFs have a significant potential to become a stand-alone or adjuvant treatment method for treating musculoskeletal problems, according to the present good findings of the rising published studies.
Numerous investigations into the underlying cellular and subcellular mechanisms of PEMF stimulation on diverse musculoskeletal illnesses have provided a molecular foundation for expanding its clinical application. The best parameter selection and unknown underlying mechanisms are two problems that have not yet been solved.
Therefore, more research from well-designed studies are still needed before they can be extensively used in clinical settings. More research will help to understand the underlying mechanisms, standardize the treatment parameters, and provide the best methodology for medical decision-making. In conclusion, with proper patient selection, appropriate indications, and uniform therapeutic techniques, PEMFs may one day play a significant role in the treatment of specific musculoskeletal illnesses.
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