Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) produce a significant reduction in knee pain compared to placebo and positively affects physical function for people with osteoarthritis, according to a study published in journal Rheumatology.
Sixty patients participated and completed in the double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical study. Participants attended clinic visits at the time of randomization (baseline) and at 1 month. All participants were provided with a wearable PEMF device, where half received pulsed electromagnetic fields, and half unknowingly did not.
Participants were trained on how to use the PEMF neuromodulation device, which was worn consecutively for a minimum of 12 hours, mostly at night. The device was kept in place with a wrap and switched off when not in use. Participants recorded the number of hours they used the device per day.
Pain scores were based on VAS (Visual Analog Scale) and WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index).
“In patients treated with the PEMF device, we found that VAS pain and WOMAC pain scores decreased significantly after 1 month of treatment compared with placebo,” wrote lead author, Gian Luca Bagnato, Division of Internal Medicine, University of Messina. “Consistently, WOMAC stiffness and function scores improved after PEMF treatment,” he added.
After 1 month of treatment, there was a 25.5% reduction in VAS pain scores for subjects treated with the PEMF device and a 3.6% reduction in those who received placebo. There was a 23.4% reduction in WOMAC pain subscale and 18.4% reduction in WOMAC total score compared with 2.3% reduction for both WOMAC pain and total in the placebo group.
“The data from this comprehensive clinical study shows ActiPatch’s ability to improve the management of osteoarthritis of the knee,” said Ian Rawe, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Research for BioElectronics Corp, the manufacturer of the device used in the study.
“The use of a wearable PEMF therapy in knee OA can be considered as an alternative safe and effective therapy in knee OA, providing the possibility for home-based management of pain compared with previous studies,” the study concluded.