Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy (PEMF)

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Demonstration on the usage of pulsed electromagnetic therapy


What is Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy (PEMF)?

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) is a contemporary therapeutic technique in the healthcare industry. According to  studies, PEMF therapy has multiple favourable impacts on human well-being. These benefits include accelerated healing of bone tissue, stress reduction, enhanced blood oxygenation, expedited healing of bones, inflammation reduction, improved muscle function, and many more.


Treatment of delayed bone fracture

When a bone is fractured due to trauma, the natural healing process involves three stages: inflammatory, reparative, and remodelling. The process begins with haemorrhage and can be assisted by various treatment options, with immobilisation being a common approach. The duration of normal healing for adults may vary from 3 to 12 weeks, depending on the location of the fracture. When a fracture produces new tissue but at a slow pace, typically over several months, later than the expected healing duration, it is referred to as a delayed fracture. 


Delayed bone fracture could happen due to various factors, such as poor blood supply to the bone, infection, or improper immobilisation. Delayed bone fractures can cause significant pain and discomfort and lead to long-term complications if not treated properly. Surgery may sometimes be required to promote healing and restore normal bone function. Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy (PEMF) is a non-invasive treatment option that accelerates bone healing and promotes recovery in cases of delayed bone fracture by promoting local blood flow and increased cellular activity.


Signs of delayed bone union

Signs of an abnormal healing process include tenderness, swelling, and deep aching pain in the affected bone. The bone may not be strong enough to support weight, and movement of the affected body part may be restricted until the bone has fully healed. Pain and weakness often persist until the healing process is complete. However, in some cases, you don’t experience any discomfort at all. So the best way to confirm if the fractured bone is healed is to take an x ray.


What is the mechanism of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy (PEMF)?

Biophysical principles of penetration and influence of pulse magnetic fields are very complicated. They are accounted for mainly by the following mechanisms:


  • Cyclotron effects: an influenced exchange of Ca²+ and other important ions between the cell and its surroundings.

  • Electron interaction: effects on radical reactions

  • Magnetic induction: effects on receptors. Influence on the potential of tissues is unlikely because of relatively low intensities and generated voltage.

  • Magnetomechanical effects

  • Biophysical principles: needs to be more defined. The explanation of specific effects of PMF and reactions of tissues are usually based on experience.


Is Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy safe to use? 

PEMF therapy has FDA approval for certain conditions, such as non-healing fractures, post-operative pain, and oedema in soft tissues.


How does Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy compliment Sportsperformance physiotherapy treatment?

Following is a list of established treatment effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy:

  • Mechanical stimulation

  • Increased local blood flow

  • Increased cellular activity

  • Accelerated healing of bone tissue

  • Washed away acidic metabolites which cause irritation

  • Positive influence on natural muscle contractility

  • Others


With the bone and muscle "prepared", our therapist will guide you through a graded exercise program to regain range of motion, muscle strength, and movement control with less limitation and eventually get you back to your pre-injury level.


How many sessions of Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy are required?


To get a session of Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy, you will need a referral from a doctor who diagnosed delayed bone fracture. The number of sessions depends on the patient's condition. Typically, improvement will be seen after around six to eight sessions (+/-). Each pulsed magnetic therapy session takes about 30 minutes (this also depends on the type and location of the fracture, as well as other deciding factors).


Is there any adverse effect of Pulsed Magnetic Therapy?

Medical professionals widely regard PEMF therapy as a safe and non-invasive technique. However,  some patients may experience temporary discomfort or adverse effects like other treatments, such as  temporary increase in pain, fatigue on exertion, sleep disturbances. 


As the therapy progresses and the body becomes more accustomed, most temporary side effects tend to decrease or disappear. Additionally, being well hydrated before, during, and after the therapy can help manage any possible side effects. Please talk with your therapist before starting the treatment.