[Medical relevance of magnetic fields in pain therapy]

Schmerz. 2011 Apr;25(2):157-60, 162-5. doi: 10.1007/s00482-010-1005-0.
[Article in German]


Background: Magnetic and electromagnetic fields have been accepted as real physical entities in medicine and are believed to achieve pain relief. Magnetic field therapy has been acknowledged as a non-invasive, safe and simple method for treatment of the site of injury, source of pain or inflammation, or other types of illnesses and pathologies. However, a consensus regarding the statistical relevance of the effects has not been established.

Materials and methods: A detailed literature research was performed and the results were evaluated. Inclusion criteria were that the studies had to be randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled, and no additional forms of treatment other than magnetic effects were allowed to be used.

Results: The evaluation of 17 studies with static magnetic fields showed on average no significant difference in pain relief between the group treated with magnetic fields and the placebo group. All studies using magnetic fields showed that forms of treatment conducted over a period of 30 min and at intervals of 1 week have no effects. In 10 studies with dynamic magnetic fields different effects were registered, which ranged from no effect to significant differences regarding pain relief between the treated and the control groups.

Conclusions: Static magnetic fields are ineffective with respect to pain therapy. Dynamic magnetic fields show diverse effects. Hence, this therapy should be researched in depth.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Field Therapy*
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Treatment Outcome