Initial Exploration of Pulsing Electromagnetic Fields for Treatment of Migraine

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Abstract:

Two studies were conducted during which 23 patients with chronic migraine were exposed to pulsing electromagnetic fields over the inner thigh. In an open study, 11 subjects kept a 2-week headache log before and after 2 to 3 weeks of exposure to pulsing electromagnetic fields for 1 hour per day, 5 days per week. The number of headaches per week decreased from 4.03 during the baseline period to 0.43 during the initial 2-week follow-up period and to 0.14 during the extended follow-up which averaged 8.1 months. In a double-blind study, 9 subjects kept a 3-week log of headache activity and were randomly assigned to receive 2 weeks of real or placebo pulsing elactromagnetic field exposures as described above. They were subsequently switched to 2 weeks of the other mode, after which they kept a final 3-week log. Three additional subjects in the blind study inadvertently received half-power pulsing electromagnetic field exposures. The 6 subjects exposed to the actual device first showed a change in headache activity from 3.32 per week to 0.58 per week. The 3 subjects exposed to only half the dose showed no change in headache activity. Large controlled studies should be performed to determine whether this intervention is actually effective.

Keywords: migraine headache; pulsed electromagnetic fields; treatment

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1526-4610.1998.3803208.x

Affiliations: 1: From the Service of Orthopedic Surgery, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash. (Dr. Sherman and Ms. Robson) and 2: From the Service of Neurology (Dr. Marden), Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash.

Publication date: March 1, 1998

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