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Magnetic Therapy Research: Fibromyalgia


Magnetic Mattress Pad Use in Patients with Fibromyalgia: a Randomized Double-blind Pilot Study.

Agatha P. Colbert, M.D. Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111

Marko S Markov, Ph.D. Department of Orthopedics Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York

Mandira Baneiji, M.A. Research Assistant, Litterst & Associates, Newton, MA

Arthur A Pilla, Ph.D. Department of Orthopedics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, New York

OBJECTIVE: To determine if the chronic pain and sleep disturbances experienced by patients with fibromyalgia can be improved by sleeping on a magnetic mattress pad.

PATIENTS: Thirty-five female subjects diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome were recruited. Thirty met inclusion/exclusion criteria and entered the study. Twenty-five completed it. One was lost to follow-up. Three were withdrawn for protocol violations and one because of an intercurrent hospitalization.

INTERVENTION: Sleeping on an experimental (magnetized at a magnet surface field strength of 1100 +/- 50 Gauss and delivering 200-600 Gauss to the skin surface or a sham (non-magnetized) mattress pad over a 16 week period.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Visual Analog Scales (VAS) for global well-being, pain, sleep, fatigue and tiredness on awakening; Total Myalgic Score; Pain Distribution Drawings; and a modified Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire.

RESULTS: Subjects sleeping on the experimental mattress pad experienced a significant decrease in pain ~ <.05), fatigue ~<.006), total myalgic score ~ <.03), and pain distribution drawing (1) <.02). Additionally, these subjects showed significant improvement in reported sleep (p <.01) and physical functioning as evidenced from the modified Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire ~ <.04). Subjects sleeping on the sham mattress pad experienced no significant change in these same outcome measures. Subjects in both the control and experimental groups showed improvement in tiredness on wakening, demonstrating a placebo effect in this parameter. Neither group showed any effect on global wellbeing.

CONCLUSIONS: Sleeping on a magnetic mattress pad, with a magnet surface field strength of 1100 +/- 50 Gauss, delivering 200-600 Gauss at the skin surface provides statistically significant and clinically relevant pain relief and sleep improvement in subjects with fibromyalgia. No adverse reactions were noted during the 16-week trial period.

Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation 13(1999) 19-31

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Static magnetic fields for treatment of fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial.

Alfano AP, Taylor AG, Foresman PA, Dunkl PR, McConnell GG, Conaway MR, Gillies GT.

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To test effectiveness of static magnetic fields of two different configurations, produced by magnetic sleep pads, as adjunctive therapies in decreasing patient pain perception and improving functional status in individuals with fibromyalgia.

DESIGN: Randomized, placebo-controlled, 6-month trial conducted from November 1997 through December 1998.

SETTING AND SUBJECTS: Adults who met the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia were recruited through clinical referral and media announcements and evaluated at a university-based clinic.

INTERVENTIONS: Subjects in Functional Pad A group used a pad for 6 months that provided whole-body exposure to a low, uniform static magnetic field of negative polarity. Subjects in the Functional Pad B group used a pad for 6 months that exposed them to a low static magnetic field that varied spatially and in polarity. Subjects in two Sham groups used pads that were identical in appearance and texture to the functional pads but contained inactive magnets; these groups were combined for analysis. Subjects in the Usual Care group continued with their established treatment regimens.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcomes were the change scores at 6 months in the following measures: functional status (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire), pain intensity ratings, tender point count, and a tender point pain intensity score.

RESULTS: There was a significant difference among groups in pain intensity ratings (p = 0.03), with Functional Pad A group showing the greatest reduction from baseline at 6 months. All four groups showed a decline in number of tender points, but differences among the groups were not significant (p = 0.72). The functional pad groups showed the largest decline in total tender point pain intensity, but overall differences were not significant (p = 0.25). Improvement in functional status was greatest in the functional pad groups, but differences among groups were not significant (p = 0.23).

CONCLUSIONS: Although the functional pad groups showed improvements in functional status, pain intensity level, tender point count, and tender point intensity after 6 months of treatment, with the exception of pain intensity level these improvements did not differ significantly from changes in the Sham group or in the Usual Care group.

J Altern Complement Med 2001 Feb;7(1):53-64

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