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Effect of Magnets on Chronic Pelvic Pain

Brown CS; Parker N; Ling F; Wan J
University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN, USA

OBJECTIVE: Magnetic therapy has been used to manage a variety of chronic pain syndromes. Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is a common disorder that does not always respond to conventional treatments. The primary aim of this study was to determine if applying magnets to abdominal trigger points would significantly relieve pain.

METHODS: Patients with CPP between 18 and 50 years of age were enrolled in a 2-week, double blind, placebo-controlled study with an optional 2-week blinded continuation phase. Women who completed single-blind treatment were randomized to receive either active or placebo 500 Gauss magnets for 24 hours per day. The McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) and the Pain Disability Index (PDI) were used.

RESULTS: Fourteen subjects completed the 2-week study, and eight subjects completed the continuation phase. There was no significant treatment effect using repeated measures analysis. Of the eight treatment extenders, 60% with active magnets compared with 33% with placebo magnets had 50% reductions in MPQ and PDI scores. A power analysis revealed that 16 subjects were necessary to show a significant effect after 4 weeks of treatment. Blinding was more effective in the placebo group than in the active magnet group and at 2 weeks than at 4 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS: This first controlled study of magnetic therapy for CPP suggests that pain relief is related to duration of exposure. The ongoing trial will report on the effect of longer exposure periods and blinding efficacy with a larger sample.

Obstet Gynecol 2000 Apr 1;95(4 Suppi 1):529.

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