Clinical efficacy of electromagnetic field therapy combined with traditional Chinese pain-reducing paste in myofascial pain syndrome

World J Clin Cases. 2022 Nov 16;10(32):11753-11765. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v10.i32.11753.


Background: Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy is widely used to treat myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). Damp-clearing and pain-reducing paste (DPP) comprises medical herbs and has been a traditional method of reducing myofascial pain in China for a long time, and it is usually administered with heating. However, the synergistic effect of PEMF therapy on heating-DPP in patients with MPS is unclear.

Aim: To investigate the synergistic effect of PEMF therapy plus heating-DPP in lumbar MPS.

Methods: This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted on 120 patients with lumbar MPS who were randomly divided into an experimental group (EG, n = 60) and a control group (CG, n = 60). Patients in both groups were treated with heating-DPP combined with PEMF therapy; however, the electromagnetic function of the therapeutic apparatus used in the CG was disabled. Each treatment lasted for 20 min and was applied five times a week for two weeks. The short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire was applied at five time points: pretest, end of the first and second weeks of treatment, and end of the first and fourth week after completing treatment. Visual analog scale (VAS), present pain intensity index (PPI), and pain rating index (PRI; total, affective pain, and sensory pain scores) scores were then analyzed.

Results: Compared with the CG, the VAS, PPI and PRI scores (total, affective pain and sensory pain scores) in the EG were significantly lower after treatment and during follow-up.

Conclusion: PEMF therapy combined with heating-DPP showed better efficacy than heating-DPP alone in reducing the overall intensity of pain and sensory and affective pain.

Keywords: Damp-clearing and pain-reducing paste; Myofascial pain; Myofascial pain syndrome; Pulsed electromagnetic field; Traditional Chinese pain-reducing paste.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial