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Understanding Electromagnetic Treatments

In addition to immediate pain relief, the administration of electricity or its derivatives may assist tissue healing and regeneration by cell stimulation, removal of edema and inflammatory mediators, and angiogenesis.
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Future Research

The revelations that severe chronic pain may induce brain atrophy and cause the memory of severe pain to become imbedded in the neurons and/or glial cells of the spinal cord and/or brain are a major challenge facing pain practioners.20-22 Electricity of some form is likely responsible for abnormal central neuroplasticity and brain atrophy that may occur with severe pain. The question of whether pooled electricity or abnormal electronic impulses generated by damaged nerves reach the brain and cause neuroplasticity or atrophy is a most serious one. It is obvious that something—probably a form of bioelectricity—is causing brain tissue loss in patients who develop abnormal neuroplasticity.21,22 Do clinicians need to more aggressively extract electricity from patients with acute injuries? Can some of the electromagnetic therapies described here prevent or correct abnormal central neuroplasticity? These questions beg for answers.

Conclusion

The centuries-old practice of treating pain with electric eels and primitive batteries has progressively evolved into therapeutic measures that have some sound scientific underpinning and growing clinical experience. These measures are simple, safe, and effective, but in this day of high-tech medicine, they are sometimes forgotten as excellent adjunctive measures to any pain treatment regimen.

The precise mechanisms by which electric currents and their derivatives relieve pain is uncertain. Apparently, they involve blocking of the afferent-efferent gates in the spinal cord, activation of endogenous endorphins, dispersion of pooled electricity into surrounding tissue, or change in polarity of pooled electricity. In addition to immediate pain relief, the administration of electricity or its derivatives may assist tissue healing and regeneration by cell stimulation, removal of edema and inflammatory mediators, and angiogenesis.

Pain practitioners should embrace the electromagnetic measures that complement their style of practice, pocketbook, and patient profile. Practitioners are urged to select a few electromagnetic measures and master them, as there are some experiential and technologic skills required for their use. Recent revelations that severe, chronic pain may produce brain atrophy and abnormal central neuroplasticity with embedding of pain memory has caused enhanced interest in electromagnetic measures for preventive and therapeutic purposes.

Last updated on: November 30, 2011
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