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Simultaneous Use of Opioid and Electromagnetic Treatments

Concurrent therapeutic electromagnetic applications complement opioid treatment and promote enhanced pain control.
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Low Level Laser

Laser instruments for pain treatment have recently arrived on the commercial market. On the electromagnetic spec-trum, lasers fall below visible light and are close to infrared waves. In fact, some commercial laser products contain an infrared component. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved laser products for “temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain.” Lasers are commonly marketed as “phototherapy” since they are a light wave. Indeed, the unit of energy is the photon. Numerous studies indicate that lasers, just as ultrasound and radiofrequency, have multiple biologic affects on the pain site and that includes proliferation of tissue.18 It may also, like electric currents and other electromagnetic waves, provide almost immediate, but temporary, pain relief. Immediate pain relief (i.e., within five minutes) suggests that sequestered electric charges are mobilized to leave the pain site.

Selection of Electromagnetic Modality

It is unknown whether an electric current or electromagnetic wave has either short or long term advantages over the other. In fact, at this time, there is no compelling reason to select one electromagnetic modality over another. The author’s own clinical experience indicates that different patients respond differently to the various modalities—just as they do with pharmacologic agents. What is clear, however, is that practically every patient will respond positively to one of the administered electromagnetic measures. Furthermore, patients already taking opioids for chronic pain greatly welcome and appreciate the opportunity to experience the wound-healing capabilities of the various electromagnetic measures. It may well be that “cure” is possible for some patients previously thought to be intractable.

Barriers to Clinical Implementation

There have been, and currently exist, significant barriers to the clinical use of electromagnetic modalities. An obvious barrier has been a lack of knowledge concerning the benefits and merits of electromagnetic measures. Commercial marketing companies have sold their various products as if they are “unique” and not related to any other measures that extract or mobilize sequestered electricity or administer electromagnetic current or energy waves. These sales practices have distorted the fact that these measures are a “class” and not a “one size fits all.” Training to properly use the various instruments has been confusing—if even available.

Time and cost to administer the various electromagnetic instruments in the clinical setting are formidable. Most of the electric current and electromagnetic energy devices are so expensive as to be prohibitive in all but a few medical settings. Third party reimbursement is a rarity because of cost as well as the fact that only a few physicians can even explain the therapeutic merits, differences, and effectiveness of the various electromagnetic devices.

One barrier need not exist. All physicians can and should educate patients on the merits of such inexpensive and simple electrical extraction and mobilization measures such as copper, magnets, min-eral baths, and grounding.


Apparently little is really new! The use of opioids and electromagnetic measures to control pain actually date backward to antiquity. A long series of historical discoveries and inventions bring us to a point in modern time when opioids and electromagnetic measures can be effectively and simultaneously applied. In chronic pain, simultaneous treatment will have to be daily and ongoing—at least for a considerable time-period—because the body has an electric circuit that constantly and continuously produces moving, electric currents. Electric charges, blood and lymph products sequester in pain sites and produce inflammation. Electromagnetic measures include those that extract or mobilize electric charges from the pain site and those that administer an electric current or electromagnetic wave to the pain site. Electromagnetic waves and electric currents that enter the pain site vary in their effects depending upon their specific nature. They have multiple attributes including electromobilization and cellular growth. Some modalities are also capable of delivering medication including opioids and corticoids to the pain site and is especially useful given that opioid receptors are produced in inflammatory pain sites. Although the understanding of the interplay between opioid receptors and electromagnetic measures is elementary, it is time that physicians and patients capitalize on the obvious benefits that a simultaneous approach can bring.

In a future issue, the author will share his experience in reducing the dosage of opioids necessary to achieve stability by simultaneously administering a complementary therapy such as electromedicine along with opioid therapy.

Last updated on: November 13, 2012