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Response of Pain to Static Magnetic Fields in Postpolio Patients: A Double-Blind Pilot Study

Vallbona C, Hazlewood CF, Jurida G.
Department of Family and Community Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine

OBJECTIVE: To determine if the chronic pain frequently presented by postpolio patients can be relieved by application of magnetic fields applied directly over an identified pain trigger point.

DESIGN: Double-blind randomized clinical trial.

SETTING: The postpolio clinic of a large rehabilitation hospital.

PATIENTS: Fifty patients with diagnosed postpolio syndrome who reported muscular or arthritic-like pain.

INTERVENTION: Application of active or placebo 300 to 500 Gauss magnetic devices to the affected area for 45 minutes.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Score on the McGill Pain Questionnaire.

RESULTS: Patients who received the active device experienced an average pain score decrease of 4.4 +/- 3.1 (p < .0001) on a 10-point scale. Those with the placebo devices experienced a decrease of 1.1 +/- 1.6 points (p < .005). The proportion of patients in the active-device group who reported a pain score decrease greater than the average placebo effect was 76%, compared with 19% in the placebo-device group (p < .0001).

CONCLUSIONS: The application of a device delivering static magnetic fields of 300 to 500 Gauss over a pain trigger point results in significant and prompt relief of pain in postpolio subjects.

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1997 Nov;78(11):1200-3.

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