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A Double-Blind Study Demonstrating Therapeutic Benefit of Magnets In Heel Pain Symptomology

Larry Seaman, DPM
Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine, Miami, Florida

To determine the effectiveness of permanently magnetized pads for the treatment of heel pain syndrome. A double- blind study was performed on patients who have had symptoms in the above areas for at least two weeks. — Permanently magnetized and demagnetized pads will be applied to the symptomatic feet without the patient of the clinician able to differentiate due to identical appearing pads. Only an impartial referee is aware of the true identity of each pad.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MATERIAL TO BE TESTED:

The bipolar pads to be used are rectangular and are 53 mm x 83 mm and produce about 300 gauss of magnetic current. An identical number of factory demagnetized pads of identical dimensions were also used for the study.

PATIENTS TO BE TESTED:

Twenty patients were initially studied using the bipolar pads on their symptomatic feet. All patients were seen at the foot clinics of the Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine. The age of patients varied from age 21 to age 78. The sex of the patients was noted, but not thought to be a significant factor in the study.

The patients tested had either heel spur or acute planter fascitis symptoms such as, acute, burning, or sharp pain on the heel area. All patients had local symptoms without neurological damage to their back or lower extremities. Patients who underwent foot surgery within the past year were not included. Patients who had metallic implants, such as screws or wires in their feet were excluded. All patients underwent two weeks of therapy and two weeks of minimum follow-up after the treatment.

CRITERIA FOR TEST DOCUMENTATION:

Criterion A: Subjective pain sensation.

Criterion B: Ability to ambulate without pain.

Criterion C: Need for pain or anti-inflammatory medication.

Criterion D: Accompanying therapy.

RESULTS OF CLINICAL TRIALS OF TWENTY PATIENTS

Criterion A: Subjective relief of symptoms.

Magnetized pads: Fourteen patients

Excellent = 5

Good = 3

Fair or no better = 6

Demagnetized pads: Six patients

Excellent = 1

Good = 0

Fair or no better = 5

Criterion B: Ability to ambulate without pain.

Magnetized pads: Fourteen patients

Excellent = 7

Good = 4

Fair or no better = 3

Demagnetized pads: Six patients

Excellent = 1

Good = 1

Fair or no better = 4

Criterion B and C = All patients in the study did not need medications or physiotherapy.

PERCENTAGE of IMPROVEMENT with MAGNETIZED PADS

Criterion A: Subjective relief of pain = 57.2%

Criterion B: Improvement in walking = 77.1%

Criterion C: Need for medication = 0%

Criterion D: Need for physiotherapy = 0%

PERCENTAGE of IMPROVEMENT with DEMAGNETIZED PADS

Criterion A: Subjective relief of pain = 16.6%

Criterion B: Improvement in walking = 16.6%

Criterion C: Need for medication = 0%

Criterion D: Need for physiotherapy = 0%

DISCUSSION OF RESULTS

The indication groups for all trial criteria showed a significantly higher therapeutic effectiveness with the magnetized pads than the control groups (demagnetized pads). The best results were achieved with reduction in subjective pain in the heel spur syndrome category. 57.2% of all test persons in this category treated with magnetized pads expressed significant relief of symptoms.

The patients who showed increase in ability to walk without pain after treatment represented a 77.1 % improvement rate ~with the magnetized pads versus a 16.6% improvement reported by those with the demagnetized pads. This percentage represented a placebo effect.

CONCLUSION

The patient group in all criteria showed a higher percentage of favorable results with the magnetized pads than the demagnetized pads. The application of the pads to the treatment areas produced no side effects or skin irritation.

Interventional neurophysiology for pain control: duration of pain relief following repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex.

Lefaucheur JP, Drouot X, Nguyen JP.

Service de physiologie-explorations fonctionnelles, hopital Henri-Mondor, Inserm U421, faculte de medecine, 94010 Creteil, France. jean-pascal.lefaucheur@hmn.ap-hop-paris.fr

The chronic electrical stimulation of a motor cortical area corresponding to a painful region of the body, by means of surgically-implanted epidural electrodes is a validated therapeutical strategy to control medication-resistant neurogenic pain. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) permits to stimulate non-invasively and precisely the motor cortex. We applied a 20-min session of rTMS of the motor cortex at 10 Hz using a ‘real’ or a ‘sham’ coil in a series of 14 patients with intractable pain due to thalamic stroke or trigeminal neuropathy. We studied the effects of rTMS on pain level assessed on a 0-10 visual analogue scale from day 1 to day 12 following the rTMS session. A significant pain decrease was observed up to 8 days after the ‘real’ rTMS session. This study shows that a transient pain relief can be induced in patients suffering from chronic neurogenic pain during about the week that follows a 20-min session of 10 Hz-rTMS applied over the motor cortex.

Neurophysiol Clin. 2001 Aug;31(4):247-52.

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