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Electromagnetic Field Therapy: A Rehabilitative Perspective in the Management of Musculoskeletal Pain – A Systematic Review

Authors Paolucci T, Pezzi L, Centra AM, Giannandrea N, Bellomo RG, Saggini R

Received 19 September 2019

Accepted for publication 7 May 2020

Published 12 June 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1385—1400


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Teresa Paolucci,1 Letizia Pezzi,1 Antonello Marco Centra,1 Niki Giannandrea,1 Rosa Grazia Bellomo,2 Raoul Saggini1

1Department of Medical Oral Sciences and Biotechnology (DiSmob), Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit, G. D’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy; 2Department of Biomolecular Sciences, University of Study of Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino, Italy

Correspondence: Teresa Paolucci
G. D’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy

Abstract: Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) provide a non-invasive, safe, and easy method to treat pain with respect to musculoskeletal diseases. The purpose of this systematic review was to describe the use of electromagnetic therapy in the rehabilitation field by investigating the efficacy in acute and chronic pain in the musculoskeletal disorders. A database search was conducted using the following resources: PubMed, Cochrane, PEDro, SCOPUS, and WoS. The following MESH terms were used: [Electromagnetic field AND/OR Rehabilitation], [Electromagnetic field AND/OR Pain], [Pulsed Magnetic field AND/OR Rehabilitation] and [Pulsed Magnetic field AND/OR Pain], [Pulsed Electromagnetic field AND/OR Rehabilitation] and [Pulsed Electromagnetic field AND/OR Pain], per the guidelines of the PRISMA statement. Articles published between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2018 were included as assessment of musculoskeletal pain conditions, randomized clinical trial including crossover and prospective design studies, full English text available, population age > 18 years; instead were excluded neurological randomized clinical trials, transcranial magnetic stimulation application, neuropathic pain, animal/in vitro studies, and articles without English abstract or English full text. Three independent investigators (AMC, NG, and LP) retrieved all the information. Twenty-one RTC (N=21) were considered for the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The results showed as pulsed magnetic fields at low intensity and frequency (from 1 Hz up to 100 Hz) are commonly used with efficacy in resolving musculoskeletal pain. EMFs therapy is a well tolerated, effective with no negative side effects, which can be integrated with rehabilitation for the treatment of chronic and acute pain in musculoskeletal diseases, but further studies are needed to examine the use of more standardized protocols.

Keywords: pulsed electromagnetic fields, rehabilitation, physical medicine, magnetic therapy, pain

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