Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2020 , Vol 66 , Num 2

Effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on pain, functional status, and quality of life in patients with chronic non-specific neck pain: A prospective, randomized-controlled study

Merve Karakaş 1 ,Haydar Gök 1
1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey DOI : 10.5606/tftrd.2020.5169 Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy when applied in addition to a conventional physical therapy program would provide any further benefits in reducing pain and functional limitation in patients with chronic non-specific neck pain.

Patients and methods: This double-blind, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled study included a total of 63 patients (15 males, 48 females; mean age 45.1; range, 25 to 59 years) with a complaint of mechanical neck pain between January 2016 and September 2016. The patients were divided into two groups as PEMF therapy group (n=33) and control group (n=30). A total of 15 sessions of conventional physical therapy program were applied to both groups for a total of three weeks. In addition, the active group received 20-min PEMF and the control group received 20-min sham PEMF. The patients were evaluated at baseline and after treatment. The therapeutic effect was evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS), Neck Pain Disability Scale (NPDS), Short Form-36 (SF-36), and Physician Global Assessment (PGA).

Results: At baseline, two groups were similar in terms of the demographic and clinical characteristics (p>0.05). There were significant improvements in the VAS, NPDS, SF-36, and physician global assessment after treatment in both groups. However, the PEMF group was not found to be superior to the sham group in terms of improvements in the outcome parameters.

Conclusion: Our study findings indicate that PEMF therapy is safe in patients with chronic non-specific neck pain. However, it does not provide further improvement in pain and functionality when applied in addition to a conventional physical therapy. Keywords : Non-specific neck pain, physical therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field