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Evaluation of Electromagnetic Fields in the Treatment of Pain in Patients with Lumbar Radiculopathy or the Whiplash Syndrome

Thuile Ch, Walzl M.
International Society of Energy Medicine, Vienna, Austria

Back pain and the whiplash syndrome are very common diseases involving tremendous costs and extensive medical effort. A quick and effective reduction of symptoms, especially pain, is required. In two prospective randomized studies, patients with either lumbar radiculopathy in the segments L5/S1 or the whiplash syndrome were investigated. Inclusion criteria were as follows: either clinically verified painful lumbar radiculopathy in the segments L5/S1 and a Lasegue’s sign of 30 degrees (or more), or typical signs of the whiplash syndrome such as painful restriction of rotation and flexion/extension. Exclusion criteria were prolapsed intervertebral discs, systemic neurological diseases, epilepsy, and pregnancy. A total of 100 patients with lumbar radiculopathy and 92 with the whiplash syndrome were selected and entered in the study following a 1:1 ratio. Both groups (magnetic field treatment and controls) received standard medication consisting of diclofenac and tizanidine, while the magnetic field was only applied in group 1, twice a day, for a period of two weeks. In patients suffering from radiculopathy, the average time until pain relief and painless walking was 8.2 +/- 0.5 days in the magnetic field group, and 11.7 +/- 0.5 days in controls (p < 0.04). In patients with the whiplash syndrome, pain was measured on a ten-point scale. Pain in the head was on average 4.6 before and 2.1 after treatment in those receiving magnetic field treatment, and 4.2/3.5 in controls. Neck pain was on average 6.3/1.9 as opposed to 5.3/4.6, and pain in the shoulder/arm was 2.4/0.8 as opposed to 2.8/2.2 (p < 0.03 for all regions). Hence, magnetic fields appear to have a considerable and statistically significant potential for reducing pain in cases of lumbar radiculopathy and the whiplash syndrome.

NeuroRehabilitation. 2002;17(1):63-7.

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