Managing Pain with PEMF
By Jonathan Bowen,
July 2, 2015
Pain is the body's built in alarm system that sends messages through the nervous system to the brain to tell it a problem exists. The etymology of the word is from the Greek word “poine” meaning a penalty and the Latin word “poena” or punishment. Pain is a result of some that has happened, usually an injury or problem existing within the body.
Types of Pain
There are five general sources of pain:
- When pain is felt in on the skin, in the muscles, joints, bones or ligaments it is musculoskeletal pain and is often referred to as somatic pain (pain related to the outer body). Localized pain is triggered when pain receptors are stimulated. This can be due to a severe change in temperature (scolding or freezing), or blunt trauma causing a cut (break in tissue), or swelling (inflammation), which releases chemicals into the body from damaged cells. Pain can also be the result of a lack of blood supply to the tissue of the body causing it to be starved of the oxygen and glucose needed for healthy cell function (cellular metabolism). This is usually caused by damage to the blood flow (anemia), which can be caused by swelling (vasoconstriction), a blood clot (thrombosis), or blockage of an artery (embolism). A lack of oxygen to a given area can also result in muscle cramps, and for atheletes it can be the result of lactic acid. This type of pain is usually sharp and very sensitive to touch.
- Internal pain felt in the internal organs or body cavities is called visceral pain. The pain receptors sense inflammation or lack of oxygen in an organ or a cavity and send a message to the brain. This type of pain is usually a deep aching sensation, or cramps and is more difficult to pinpoint. Back pain, pelvic pain, abdominal (stomach) pain and chest pain can are all forms of visceral pain affecting different areas of the body.
- Nerve pain, (called neuropathic pain) is caused when nerves between the brain, spinal cord (the main nerve highway) and the peripheral nervous system (the smaller nerve passageways) are disrupted. A nerve may be pinched, or experience pressure due to inflammation from injuries such as a torn or slipped disc. Nerve pain can also be caused by nerve degeneration from infections such as shingles, by strokes, oxygen starvation, or diseases such as multiple-sclerosis. Pain that originates within the nervous system and not from the pain receptors is called non-nociceptive. This is very difficult to treat because the nerve is injured and doesn’t send correct signals to the brain, or the signals are confused, irregular, and inconsistent. The brain still interprets the signals as pain but it is often unpredictable. Other sensations like numbness and tingling or hypersensitivity to touch, vibration or temperature change can be experienced.
- Following a fracture or a soft tissue injury in the limbs we experience what is known as sympathetic pain. The reason it is called this is because it is not triggered by pain receptors, but rather the injured nerve sends messages to the brain which are interpreted as pain. The area around the injury becomes hyper-sensitive as a built in defense mechanism, causing the person who is injured to not want to use the injured limb.
- Finally there is reflective pain, which is pain that is experienced in close proximity to the injury, but not necessarily at the site of injury. Often the pain will radiate into the adjacent areas.
There are two classifications for how we experience pain:
- Acute Pain – pain that is localized and caused by a direct injury. Acute pain usually is severe but will usually disappear after a short period of time. It is the preliminary “alarm” system where the nervous system sends messages to the brain, notifying it of an immediate issue.
- Chronic Pain – pain that remains after the initial acute pain, and can be severe or mild, and reminds the brain that a problem still exists.
Traditional Treatment of Pain
Pain is a signal that something is wrong with the body. Pain is the “effect” in the “cause and effect” equation. If the “cause” is treated and removed, generally speaking it will remove the “effect.” As the cause is addressed pain will gradually subside. Most remedies simply deal with the effect, and do not address the cause.
Anesthetics are drugs that are used to bring about the temporary loss of sensation. Usually these drugs are used to help during surgery. General anesthetics will cause the loss of consciousness, so the patient doesn’t experience any pain, while local anesthetics only remove sensation from a small area of the body.
Analgesics are drugs which are designed to achieve relief from pain (analgesia) and are therefore common referred to as “pain killers”.
There are three main types of analgesics:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) which include acetaminophen. These drugs tend to work on the brain by inhibiting the production of the enzyme (cyclooxygenase) which is responsible for natural inflammation. Inflammation is often the body’s natural way of immobilizing an area while it repairs. NSAID’s also inhibit pain. Side effects include liver damage which can be life threatening, as well as kidney damage, fever, blood in the stool and urine, fever, severe lower back pain, hives or rashes, sore throat, ulcers, itching, bruising, weakness, tiredness etc. Variations of these drugs can make some patients susceptible to peptic ulcers, renal failure, allergic reactions, tinnitus, and increase the risk of bleeding (hemorrhaging) as the drug interferes with platelets (the natural blood clotting agents).
- COX-2 inhibitors are a refined form of NSAID’s which were designed to inhibit the COX2 enzyme alone, reducing inflammation. The dangerous side effect of COX-2 inhibitors is an increase in cardiovascular events by about 40%.
- Opioids are designed to influence the cerebral opioid receptor system by decreasing the perception or reaction to pain, and increasing pain tolerance. Common opioids include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, etc. Opioids have many side effects including nausea, vomiting, itching, constipation, sedation, respiratory depression, and a strong sense of euphoria. Opioids are basically a narcotic and will become addictive over time. When using for chronic pain, it is often necessary to increase dosage over time, which will also increase the side effects.
Often combinations of all three are used to treat pain, and therefore the side effects are exponentially increased. Different drugs are taken to counteract the side effects, producing other side effects and a vicious circle of drug dependency is created, masking symptoms and creating ghost symptoms that have nothing to do with the original condition, but are the combined result of the various medications being taken.
PEMF and Pain Management
Curatron administers PEMF for pain management at multiple levels without the complicated side effects of medication.
Treating Immediate Pain
The body handles pain by producing endorphins (endogenous morphine) in the central nervous system and the pituitary gland. Endorphins block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Modern medicine deals with pain by prescribing opiates such as Morphine, Oxycodone, Percocets, Opium and other drugs, which are addictive and harmful to the liver, kidneys, and bowel, especially during prolonged periods of exposure.
PEMF energy medicine stimulates the production of natural endorphins and therefore is very effective in dealing with pain, especially chronic pain. However, it does not have the side effects of invasive surgery or pharmaceuticals.
Treating the Root Cause
Pain is a “cause and effect mechanism”. Most treatments for pain, and certainly medications, only deal with masking the “effects” and never treat the underlying cause. PEMF treats both the immediate pain and also the underlying pathology responsible for engaging the pain mechanism in the first place.
Somatic pain, or pain related to the musculoskeletal system, occurs when damage has happened to the cells due to scolding or freezing, blunt trauma, swelling or a lack of oxygen and glucose needed for healthy cell function. An obstruction in blood flow is often the cause of the lack of oxygen. PEMF administered through the Curatron range of products re-energizes the cells to allow maximum healing efficiency. Cell energy production (ATP creation) is drastically enhanced as oxygenation is brought to the highest level possible. Nutrients are brought to the area needing healing, and harmful toxins and pathogens are removed at a much higher rate due to the reduction of the Rouleaux effect. The white blood cells are delivered more efficiently enabling the immune system to fight infection at a much greater rate, rather than having infection spread to a larger area. PEMF has the effect of clearing all roadways to an accident site to allow full, uninhibited, immediate medical attention to treat the underlying problem while stimulating the natural endorphins to treat pain at the same time. The quicker the cells are empowered to repair and be replaced, the quicker pain will subside.
The benefit of PEMF in dealing with both the underlying pathology while providing pain relief was also reported by studies in Los Angeles:
“This review article notes that low-frequency electromagnetic therapy has been used for a variety of purposes. Those specifically identified the author include cell growth promotion, pain reduction, improved blood circulation, bone repair, increased wound healing, sedative effects, enhanced sleep, and arthritic relief.” (1)
Similar studies found an improvement in patients suffering from pain due to osteoarthritis:
"Results of this double-blind, placebo-controlled study indicated that exposure to pulsed electromagnetic fields had beneficial effects in the treatment of patients suffering from painful osteoarthritis of the knee or cervical spine. PEMF therapy consisted of 18 exposures lasting 30 minutes and administered 3-5 times per week." (2)
Similar scientific studies on pain reported the benefit of PEMF:
“This study examined the effects of low-frequency magnetic fields in patients suffering atherosclerotic encephalopathy. Treatment involved 10-15 minute daily exposures over a total of 10-15 applications. Results showed clinical improvements with respect to chest pain, vertigo, headache, and other symptoms.” (3)
Patients suffering from pain due to circulation issues were not only relieved of pain, many were also restored to normal function.
“This study examined the effects of running impulse magnetic fields in patients suffering from vessel obliteration diseases of the legs. Treatment consisted of 15-20 whole body exposures lasting 15-20 minutes each. Results showed treatment led to a significant reduction in the number of patients experiencing leg pain while at rest. Among patients previously unable to walk a 500-m distance, 52 percent were able to complete the distance following treatment. Circulation improved in 75-82 percent of patients.” (4)
Double blind studies performed in Italy demonstrated the benefit of PEMF in pain reduction:
“This double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of 2-hour exposure to weak magnetic fields… on pain perception in healthy subjects. Results showed that magnetic treatment significantly reduced the perception of pain.” (5)
Internal “visceral” pain occurs because of a lack of oxygen and inflammation inside the body. The power of the Curatron systems enables the PEMF to penetrate deep into the body and assist in the healing of internal injuries. All cells, whether internal organs, bones, muscles etc., require ATP production to function properly. PEMF stimulates ATP production at a cellular level in every single cell in the body, ensuring healing and empowering cells to do what they were designed for. As with somatic pain, natural endorphins are released to treat the immediate and chronic pain while the affected areas are stimulated to heal. Oxygenation is dramatically increased and healthy cell life is maintained, while damaged cells are quickly treated or replaced.
Studies have shown the effect of PEMF on internal organ pain:
“Results of this study indicated that treatment with electromagnetic fields improved motor function of the stomach and reduced dyspepsia and pain in children suffering from chronic gastroduodenitis. Treatment… applied to the gastroduodenal region, and consisted of 6-12 minute exposures every other day for a total of 8-12 exposures.” (6)
Nerve (neuropathic pain) is caused by a disruption to the message transmission in the nervous system. In other words, roadblocks and detours are created on the nerve superhighway and the brain interprets this disruption as pain. Often the cause is related to oxygen deprivation in a given area due to pressure, inflammation, or disease. Curatron’s ability to penetrate deep into the body, through bone and muscle mass enables the PEMF energy medicine to reach the affected areas. As with somatic and visceral pain the ability of the Curatron to oxygenate cells through maximizing blood flow immediately helps relieve pain by keeping cells alive. PEMF operating at a level where it can penetrate through muscle and bones can help with the body's ability to reprogram itself around damaged areas that cannot be immediately healed. This process is called neuroplasticity. Research has discovered brain activity for a given function can move to a different location of the brain following injury:
“If you are driving from here to Milwaukee and the main bridge goes out, first you are paralyzed. Then you take old secondary roads through the farmland. Then you use these roads more; you find shorter paths to use to get where you want to go, and you start to get there faster. These "secondary" neural pathways are "unmasked" or exposed and strengthened as they are used. The "unmasking" process is generally thought to be one of the principal ways in which the plastic brain reorganizes itself." (7)
Scientists have learned that the brain can re-map itself:
“Merzenich’s new theory was that neurons in brain maps develop strong connections to one another when they are activated at the same moment in time. And if maps could change, thought Merzenich, then there was reason to hope that people born with problems in brain map-processing areas — people with learning problems, psychological problems, strokes, or brain injuries — might be able to form new maps if he could help them form new neuronal connections, by getting their healthy neurons to fire together and wire together.” (8)
Brains are made up of neurons, which are cellular. They require energy (ATP) production requiring the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to function properly like all organs of the body. PEMF stimulates brain cells and encourages neuroplasticity to take place, remapping problem areas and rerouting traffic that has been disrupted due to trauma.
In September 2003 Thomas Goodwin, Ph.D. of NASA who investigated the effect of electromagnetic fields on neuronal cells, published an experimental study. Neuronal cells are responsible for transmitting electrical signals throughout the body. For example, if you want to open your hand, the brain sends electrical command signals to the muscles responsible for opening the hand. These electrical signals reach these muscles and if there is no damage to the neuronal cells going from the brain towards these muscles, then the hand will open. If there is damage as a result of an accident or surgery the body will repair the damage and regenerate the neuronal cells over time. The purpose of the NASA study was to find out if it was possible to stimulate regeneration or regrowth of neural tissue with electromagnetic fields in order to improve electrical conductivity between the neuronal cells. The study concluded electromagnetic field stimulation improved regrowth by 250% to 400%.
Nerve pain due to diseases such as multiple sclerosis was also relieved:
“Results of this double-blind, placebo-controlled study indicated that pulsed electromagnetic fields administered daily over a period of 15 days is a generally effective treatment in reducing symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, with the most positive improvements involving the alleviation of spasticity and pain.” (9)
Sympathetic pain and reflective pain have both been treated effectively with PEMF. The beneficial effect of PEMF on neuroplasticity for addressing “phantom pain” along with other issues had been documented:
“This review article cites studies pointing to the efficacy of low-frequency magnetic fields in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions, including burns, arthritis, fractures, arterial aneurysms, PMS, phantom pain, tuberculosis, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, bronchial asthma, and ulcerated varicose veins, among others.” (10)
To see first hand testimony of how PEMF has helped reduce dependency on opioids listen to two of our stories:
(1) R.A. Drolet, "Rhumart Therapy: A Non-invasive Cell Regeneration Ion and Anti-Inflammatory Therapy Using LF-EM Fields," Bioelectromagnetics Society, 4th Annual Meeting, 28 June-2 July 1982, Los Angeles, CA, p. 45.
(2) D.H. Trock, The Effect of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee and Cervical Spine. Report of Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo Controlled Trials," Journal of Rheumatology, 21(10), 1994, p. 1903-1911.
(3) S.S. Gabrielian, et al., "Use of Low-Frequency Magnetic Fields in the Treatment of Patients with Atherosclerotic Encephalopathy," Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult, 3, 1987, pp36-39.
(4) Y.B. Kirillov, et al., "Magnetotherapy for Obliterative Disease of the Vessels of the Legs," Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult, 3, 1992, pp. 14-17.
(5) F. Sartucci, et al., "Human Exposure to Oscillating Magnetic Fields Produces Changes in Pain Perception and Pain-Related Somatosensory Evoked Potentials," Second World Congress for Electricity and Magnetism in Biology and Medicine, 8-13 June 1997, Bologna, Italy.
(6) L.M. Petrukhina, et al., "Effect of a Decimeter Wave Electromagnetic Fields on the Motor Function of the Stomach in Children with Strong Gastroduodenitis," Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult, (1), 1987, pp54-56.
(7) Doidge, Norman MD (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the frontiers of brain science. p9
(8) Doidge, Norman MD (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the frontiers of brain science. p63
(9) A. Guseo, Pulsing Electromagnetic Field Therapy of Multiple Sclerosis the Gyuling-Bordacs Device: Double-Blind, Cross-Over and Open Studies, Journal of Bioelectr., 6(1), 1987, p. 23-35
(10) V.M. Bogoliubov & L.A. Skurikhina, "Therapeutic Application of Constant and Low- Frequency Magnetic Fields," Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult, (2), 1979, p. 65-72.