Response of pain to static magnetic fields in postpolio patients: a double-blind pilot study

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1997 Nov;78(11):1200-3. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(97)90332-4.


Objective: To determine if the chronic pain frequently presented by postpolio patients can be relieved by application of magnetic fields applied directly over an identified pain trigger point.

Design: Double-blind randomized clinical trial.

Setting: The postpolio clinic of a large rehabilitation hospital.

Patients: Fifty patients with diagnosed postpolio syndrome who reported muscular or arthritic-like pain.

Intervention: Application of active or placebo 300 to 500 Gauss magnetic devices to the affected area for 45 minutes.

Main outcome measure: Score on the McGill Pain Questionnaire.

Results: Patients who received the active device experienced an average pain score decrease of 4.4 +/- 3.1 (p < .0001) on a 10-point scale. Those with the placebo devices experienced a decrease of 1.1 +/- 1.6 points (p < .005). The proportion of patients in the active-device group who reported a pain score decrease greater than the average placebo effect was 76%, compared with 19% in the placebo-device group (p < .0001).

Conclusions: The application of a device delivering static magnetic fields of 300 to 500 Gauss over a pain trigger point results in significant and prompt relief of pain in postpolio subjects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chronic Disease
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetics / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postpoliomyelitis Syndrome / complications*