Analgesic effect of static magnets – efficacy according to evidences

Piotr Tederko, Marek Krasuski

Piotr Tederko, Marek Krasuski – Analgesic effect of static magnets – efficacy according to evidences. Fizjoterapia Polska 2011; 11(4); 289-301

Alternative and complimentary modes of treatment gain popularity and compete with evidence based therapies. Deve­lopment of alternative methods is enhanced by the demands of the market of medical devices designed for home treatment without need of a physician’s consultation. Application of devices with static magnets is advertised as a safe and effective pain therapy. The purpose of the paper is to analyze scientific evidence of efficacy and safety of static magnetic fields (SMF) applied as therapeutic modality for pain. Survey of peer-reviewed scientific publications resulted in identification of 45 papers including 40 primary publications and 5 meta-analyses. 4 original studies were excludes as uncontrolled trials or case studies. One paper was disqualified because of simultaneous application of alternating magnetic field. Among randomized controlled trials on clinical applications of SMF against pain 10 support hypothesis of analgesic effect of SMF, 9 neither confirm nor exclude therapeutic efficacy of SMF, and 16 give the evidence against SMF superiority over placebo. Frequent failure to blind the study, small sample sizes, short follow-up period limit evidence value of the analyzed results. Expectations resulting from frequent sponsorship of studies by manufacturers of SMF equipment appear to influence the objectivity of several conclusions. SMF of inductances within the range of those used in analyzed devices are not classifiable due to their potential risk of chronic exposure by inconclusive evidence. According to theoretical deliberations, pregnancy, infancy, pacemakers, ferromagnetic implants and application of electronic devices regulating life functions are considered contraindi­cations for the use of therapeutic devices emitting SMF. The current state of knowledge does not allow for unambiguous confirmation of SMF therapeutic efficacy. Devices for therapy with SMF should not be sold as analgesic modalities before evidence of efficacy and safety in each particular indication is confirmed.
Key words:
static magnets, medical devices, Pain, Analgesia
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