Treatment of Migraine With Pulsing Electromagnetic Fields: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
Location: From the Orthopedic Surgery Service, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash.
The effect of exposure to pulsing electromagnetic fields on migraine activity was evaluated by having 42 subjects (34 women and 8 men), who met the International Headache Society’s criteria for migraine, participate in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
Each subject kept a 1-month, pretreatment, baseline log of headache activity prior to being randomized to having either actual or placebo pulsing electromagnetic fields applied to their inner thighs for 1 hour per day, 5 days per week, for 2 weeks.
After exposure, all subjects kept the log for at least 1 follow-up month. During the first month of follow-up, 73% of those receiving actual exposure reported decreased headaches (45% good decrease, 14% excellent decrease) compared to half of those receiving the placebo (15% worse, 20% good, 0% excellent). Ten of the 22 subjects who had actual exposure received 2 additional weeks of actual exposure after their initial 1-month follow-up. All showed decreased headache activity (50% good, 38% excellent). Thirteen subjects from the actual exposure group elected not to receive additional exposure. Twelve of them showed decreased headache activity by the second month (29% good, 43% excellent). Eight of the subjects in the placebo group elected to receive 2 weeks of actual exposure after the initial 1-month follow-up with 75% showing decreased headache activity (38% good, 38% excellent).
In conclusion, exposure of the inner thighs to pulsing electromagnetic fields for at least 3 weeks is an effective, short-term intervention for migraine, but not tension headaches.
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