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Effect of PEMF with Chronic Lower Back Pain

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Asian Spine Journal
Asian SpinCleinJicoaul Srtundayl
Efficacy of Pulsed Low-Frequency Magnetic Field Therapy on Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial
Khalid Abdulkareem Alzayed1, Saad Mohammed Alsaadi2
1Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
2Musculoskeletal Division, Department of Physical Therapy, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Study Design: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial.
Purpose: To investigate the efficacy of pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy combined with therapeutic exercises in the treat- ment of chronic low back pain (CLBP).
Overview of Literature: Low back pain (LBP) is the most common musculoskeletal pain disorder. Most available interventions for CLBP have modestly beneficial outcomes. Despite the potential effect of PEMF therapy on LBP, there have been few studies regarding its effectiveness.
Methods: Forty-two patients (22 males, 20 females), were randomized into either the treatment group (PEMF and therapeutic exer- cises) or placebo group (sham PEMF and exercises). Primary outcome measures were pain intensity on the 10-point Numeric Pain- Rating Scale and disability measured by the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire. The patients were assessed at baseline, during the treatment period (weeks 3, 6, and 9), and after treatment (week 13).
Results: The treatment group experienced a more rapid improvement in both pain and disability compared with the placebo group. The analysis showed a significant improvement in the pain intensity and disability scores in the treatment group at week 3 (p<0.05), whereas an improvement in the placebo group was detected at week 6. The significant improvement in both groups was sustained for weeks 6, 9, and 13. There was no difference between the groups in scores of pain intensity and disability at weeks 6 and 13. Conclusions: PEMF therapy improved pain and disability in patients with CLBP. However, it does not seem to be superior to other treatment options.
Keywords: Lower back pain; Magnetic field therapy
Low back pain (LBP) is the most common musculosk- eletal pain disorder that causes primary care visits in the United States [1]. LBP is a highly prevalent condition and
affects more than 80% of the population at some point in their lifetime [1]. Chronic low back pain (CLBP), de- fined as any pain or discomfort between the 12th rib and gluteal crest persisting for more than 12 weeks [2], is one of the leading causes of disability globally [3]. Emerging
Received Feb 8, 2019; Revised Mar 23, 2019; Accepted May 3, 2019
Corresponding author: Khalid Abdulkareem Alzayed
Physical Therapy Department, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Dammam 31444, Saudi Arabia Tel: +966-138442222 (Ext: 1930), E-mail:
ASJ Copyright C 2020 by Korean Society of Spine Surgery
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Asian Spine Journal • pISSN 1976-1902 eISSN 1976-7846 •

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