Theoretically, wounds, bone fractures, any area of chronic injury and pain can be a viable target for PEMF therapy.
But there are additional areas where it can be considered appropriate. But PEMF shouldn’t be thought of as “treating” conditions, but rather as a modality that “optimizes the self-healing environment.”
The majority of evidence for PEMF and its primary FDA clearances are for osteogenesis, or non-invasive bone growth and repair. In 2011, the FDA also cleared PEMF for treating depres- sion in patients who fail to respond to pharmacological therapy.
“We’ve found that genetic disorders don’t respond to treatment,” Silver says. “But we might see pain reduction. Partial ligament tears and cartilage and muscle respond very well to the machine. We build and strengthen the muscle with magnetic induction and heal it with pulsed electromagnetic field therapy.”
What Silver refers to here is that at higher intensity levels, patients can feel a pulsing sensation and muscular twitching. The effect is moderate, however, and not painful at all. But given this amount of energy, PEMF will interact with pacemakers and cannot be used with patients who have them.