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Larry Langdon
/ Categories: PEMF

PEMF therapy for chronic pain

PEMF and Movement Combine for Results

Their pain is significant, but the existence of persistent harm requiring urgent intervention does not indicate chronic pain. It may be the by-product of a previous injury, or an aspect of a degenerative condition that is long-standing. The body is trying to defend itself with chronic pain patients. Perhaps the brain perceives uncertainty and then shuts off range of defensive motion. Or chronic lack of motion leads to tightness that leads to ischemia. Regardless, we should be open to all of the available tools to help treat chronic pain patients. 

Manipulation and PEMF

I love modalities and manipulations, particularly for chronic pain. In recovery services modalities should be combined with intensive treatment. They will track the range of movement and activity patterns of patients as part of the tests, bring knowledge to a reduced range of movement, and then continue the recovery process by finding out how to restore lost mobility. Patients become engaged and participate as we figure out ways to increase lost range of movement and then uphold these recently discovered gains of motion. 

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy is an extension to patient modality menus. I use PEMF to nudge and encourage my patients to shift through joint and muscle motion while they're in the care process, improve the decreased range of motion, and work out a less or less painful method of movement.

Education and Invitation

My type of care is an invitation to the patients. The goal is to avoid hurting themselves in their everyday lives, because they alone can be responsible for improvement. When walking, sitting lying down, sleeping, listening, talking, and eating - there are several ways to get rid of chronic pain. Patients can be driven by self-discovery or "inquiry" by movement range, asking them what they can do without raising discomfort, moving slowly at first.

Together we are looking for effective treatment methods to transform negative events or past programming. I'm just saying to doctors, "Recover as much lost motion as we can and then you never lose it again." If you never lose range of motion, the muscles and the strength of the joint tend to stay stable as they age. As range of motion is chronically subpar, the capacity of patients to be versatile and healthy tends to decline as they age. I am looking for modalities that explain pain and function changes. They do not completely understand the mechanisms to improve safety and decrease pain, but it appears that pulsed magnetic therapy (not to be confused with static magnets) has significant health benefits. Therapeutic PEMF systems run at various frequencies, and are safe and non-ionizing. PEMF does not treat or cure illnesses or their symptoms. To help the immune system, circulatory system, supporting healthy lung function, relaxing muscles, supporting healthy joint and cartilage function and supporting bone structure, PEMF devices are built to provide varying pulse levels and strengths under user control.

High-voltage PEMF gives the patient a feeling. If you ask me, "Does PEMF have an effect on analgesia?” "I'm going to have to say" sometimes, "which is the same answer I would give you for laser therapy or other methods. I can tell you that it sounds like "tapping" when it turns up to a certain level and maybe the sense of tapping competes with the pain signal.

Applying PEMF Therapy

I compared my palpation abilities to find PEMF trigger points to certain trigger points and the PEMF seems to pick up trigger points as well. Popular trigger point therapy is chemical compression, transverse pressure, post-isometric relaxation, spray and stretch, and other methods.

I suspect the nerve endings send amplified input into the cord when I think I've located a trigger point, either with applying PEMF over the same areas or manual palpation. Trigger points tend to have all the following connections: present in chronic muscle pain, visible as taut fibers, located in shortened muscles and developed as a result of muscle strain. Also, scar tissues are likely to form in trigger point areas that have been secured.

Trigger points tend to be self-nourishing chain reactions which trigger continuous sarcomere contraction. In a trigger point, the cellular metabolism is abnormal in that ATP gets used up and cannot be renewed. The production of ATP is sufficient to provide energy for all the activities of the cell, including the calcium arrival to its storage compartment, the sarcoplasmic reticulum and; hence, the sarcomeres are allowed to restart an inactive place.

Think about it — perhaps PEMF works in a similar manner to manual pressure that shifts the blood flow to the trigger point. Disrupting the supply of blood is something that pulsed electrical fields can do for nanoseconds. Perhaps PEMF 'tapping' on trigger points produces a parasympathetic effect which acts therapeutically to reduce tense tissue load. Perhaps it is likely that the PEMF works like pressure on the trigger point and may cause the release of endorphins and enkephalin, two of the strongest pain fighters in the body.

I am sure there are a lot of other things we don't know about PEMF yet. What I note is that the defined pain zone of the trigger points is that, and the range of motion is increased.

Chronic Muscle Pain and Joint Inflammation

It is essential to keep the muscle fibers around it elongated to diminish the trigger point and prevent it from being reactivated. Patients get to learn self-stretching during the PEMF procedure, so they can stretch the required muscle throughout. Home instructions are for the patient to keep stretching out that area every day.

In an example of patients with trigger points in the hip flexors, the aim of stretching is to decrease the active firing of trigger points to relieve pain while being treated with magnet therapy (or other modalities). I've seen magnet therapy vendors recommend having patients sitting or lying comfortably to help lower body stress levels. That is different than my form of therapy, which seems to work better to keep the muscles relaxed and lengthened.

I tried PEMF with touch therapy (soft tissue therapy, manipulation), and without touch therapy, and PEMF with motion and stretching range only. In recent years, static stretching has been widely criticized as it doesn't do any of the things it's intended to do. Many studies suggest that stretching causes no muscle soreness and does not seem to do anything to avoid injury. However, if you find that certain muscles feel a little "tightened" (the usual culprits are the hip flexors, hamstrings, adductors, and quadriceps), or if there is a "asymmetry" in flexibility (i.e. one leg feels much tighter than the other), then it is worth testing with motionless stretching to see if it works for you or not.

The PEMF therapy I tried was paired with a basic stretch of flexibility, aimed at extending any "tight" muscle and reducing trigger points inside the tight muscle. In total, patients hold the pose for 60 seconds. They practice 60 seconds of breathing and stretching, and then take muscle across motion range. One 60-second stretch, or six 10-second intervals, works equally well when it comes to rising versatility. Regardless of the duration of a single stretch, the secret to progress appears to be that post-check patients feel stronger and trigger-point sensation is declining. Patients get encouraged and don't want to lose that range of motion.

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