The employment of electrical waves has been utilized in the medical field for centuries, while magnets have been used for their medical properties for several millennia. Only recently have we gained enough ground in the medical science community to utilize pulsed electromagnetic fields, or PEMFs. In 1979, they were proven to assist in the knitting of nonunion fractures. The US FDA accepted PEMF as a treatment for pain 1998. PEMF received general approval from the FDA in 2007, then was approved to treat brain cancer in 2011. The FDA also upgraded PEMF machines from Class 3 to a Class 2 medical devices in 2015.
Brain Injuries and Resulting Complications
It is estimated that one in three people will experience a kind of brain injury at some point in their life. There are reports that 135 million people around the world suffer from mild, moderate, or severe brain injuries, making them more common than previously believed. They can be fatal and severely hazardous to quality of life. Even the mildest of brain injuries can prove to be extremely complex and difficult to offer a prognosis for as these types of injuries are initially diagnosed based on their initial presentation.
This does not include their long-term outcomes. Traumatic brain injury can occur from an object impacting the skull, or a sharp item piercing the skull. Strokes, hemorrhages, and tumors can also cause traumatic brain injuries, and are often not considered when the average person thinks about brain injury. People working in transport jobs, athletes involved in contact sports, and those who have spent time in the military are all the highest-risk for brain injury. Anyone, however, can incur such injuries.
We once believed that mild brain injury would eventually heal itself without any side-effects. With the advancement of medical science, we now realize this is not true. Brain injuries can result in neuro-physical changes, including cell death over lengthy periods of time.
People who receive consistent mild head injuries over time may get sick easier, experience mood swings, psychological disorders, and their injuries may even prove fatal. This means quickly diagnosing and treating a TBI is extremely important. Elderly patients are more susceptible to brain injury, as they are more likely to fall. This can also create further complications such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone who may experience a brain injury runs the risk of homelessness and criminal behavior, as they may find it difficult to find constant and sufficient employment. Further common symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating or understanding
- Aggression, depression, anxiety, impulsiveness, or other mood swings
- Headaches and migraines
- Cognitive problems
- Delayed reaction time
The treatments of traumatic brain injuries are more advanced than in previous decades. We now know that brain injuries are serious and complex issues that must be addressed quickly. Doctors will still perform surgeries, but even afterwards inflammation and the other side effects listed above may still persist long-term. These are usually treated by doctors with medication.
RTMS, or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, is another common treatment some patients seek. This can, however prove disagreeable as it requires visiting a doctor frequently which can get expensive and time-consuming. Most patients find PEMF preferable, as it is easy and can be used anytime, anywhere without the need for a doctor’s appointment. It includes simply a small machine and a pad. Some PEMF machines come as a mat, similar to a yoga mat. A single 30-minute session can reduce pain from headaches, migraines, and inflammation from brain injuries. Persistent use of PEMF machines has also proven to reduce or eliminate headaches and migraines completely.
PEMF was originally designed in the 1970s to assist in healing fractured bones, however now there are many other uses for this treatment including:
- Promoting circulation and muscle relaxation
- Aiding in sleep
- Treating brain cancer
- Hastening recovery from illnesses
- Healing organ inflammation
- Assisting with chronic joint pain relief
- In place of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications
- To increase mobility and hearing
- Healing headaches and migraines following traumatic brain injuries
Safety and Other Functions
When it comes to anything medical having to do with the brain, most patients will worry about risk of further brain injury or tumors. Research shows that PEMFs do not cause any harmful side-effects. A study performed on both brain injury survivors and healthy people has shown that over the course of 12 months and 60-70 treatment sessions, zero negative side effects were experienced by any of the participants. Further research has also shown us that PEMF can also reverse inflammation, headaches, and migraines, and other symptoms that plague brain injury survivors. Starting a PEMF treatment during the onset of a headache or migraine can prove to shorten the length of the episode, or even stop it altogether.
More than 25 billion neurons are stimulated by the lowest PEMF, improving cognitive function and neuroplasticity. They also improve dopamine and serotonin production, making them excellent antidepressants as well. This is good news, as it can lower dependence on pills, and doesn’t have the side-effects commonly associated with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
PEMFs work equally on the nervous system and brain tissue, which is why they serve so many functions. The machines are easy to use, and have multiple intensities which can be manually chosen by the patient, as guided by their doctor.
Many brain injury survivors claim that they felt abandoned by their doctors and hospitals after leaving, due to a gross lack of service. Some people may feel pills are being pushed on them to deal with symptoms like pain, depression, and anxiety, but little is actually being done to help them when they’re in need of further medical assistance. Neurorehabilitation services can be difficult to locate, and expensive, but it is a substantial and increasing need that is seldom met. PEMF is a great way for those patients to alleviate their pain, cease their suffering from brain inflammation, depression, or anxiety or who simply do not want to continue making expensive doctor’s appointments.