The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) reports that 100 million Americans struggle with some type of chronic pain condition daily.
Not only can this lower the quality of life for these individuals by making everyday activities more difficult to engage in, but it can be rather costly too.
Knee pain by the numbers
In fact, the NASEM indicates that expenses related to chronic pain conditions cost our country as much as $635 billion per year. This dollar amount includes a combination of the direct costs associated with pain treatment along with the costs related to productivity losses due to these types of conditions.
The American Academy of Pain Medicine adds that, while back pain is the leading cause of disability for Americans under the age of 45, many people also suffer from pain in the knee area. For instance, one study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that approximately one in four people struggle with frequent knee pain.
Pain in the knees appears to be increasing in prevalence too according to the same study. Specifically, knee pain reports have gone up approximately 65 percent for individuals between the ages of 60 and 74 in just 20 years. Though this percentage reflects a twofold increase in knee-pain issues for women, men in this age range actually fared worse in that their incidences of knee pain actually tripled within this timeframe.
Fortunately, some treatment remedies can help reduce knee-related pain. PEMF is one of them.
PEMF treatment effects
PEMF stands for Pulsed Electro Magnetic Field therapy and involves sending pulsed energy into the knee area to stimulate healing of damaged cells and tissues. How well does it work?
According to a 2012 systematic review of 14 trials published in the journal Rheumatology, “PEMF was significantly more effective at 4 and 8 weeks than the placebo” when it came to treating pain related to knee osteoarthritis (OA). That is, as long as high-quality methodology was used in the research.
Functionality of the knee increased as well when individuals were assessed at the 8-week mark. And though further studies are recommended, this set of researchers ultimately concluded that there is a reasonable amount of evidence to assume that PEMF is helpful in cases of knee OA.
A 2015 clinical trial found similar results. This study was also published in Rheumatology and involved 60 patients who had knee OA coupled with pain above 40 mm, which is mild to moderate levels of pain on the visual analogue scale (VAS). In this case, subjects were split into two groups, with one group receiving PEMF and the other receiving placebo treatments.
After just one month of sessions, pain scores “decreased significantly” for the PEMF group, with VAS scores declining by 25.5 percent. As a result, one in four subjects who received true PEMF actually stopped taking medications previously prescribed to help deal with the pain. Scores related to knee function and stiffness improved as well.
PEMF has also been deemed safe in the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain related to the knee area. For instance, a 2013 study published in Clinical Interventions in Aging involved 28 subjects with bilateral knee osteoarthritis.
All of the individuals in this study received PEMF therapy and “no adverse reactions to therapy were observed.” The 2015 clinical trial mentioned previously found the same results, reporting that “no adverse events were detected” after treating 60 patients over the course of a month.
Incorporating PEMF in your practice
If you’re new to PEMF, successfully incorporating this service into your practice first requires that you are trained on the system you plan to use. Once you’re ready to offer this service, the next step is to get your patients to sign up.
This requires that you educate your patients about how PEMF works and the benefits it provides. The more they understand the process and how it can potentially help them with knee pain management, the more likely it is they’ll be willing to try this particular service.
Promoting PEMF may also require offering incentives to get more patients excited about this treatment remedy until they are able to experience its positive effects firsthand. For instance, you may decide to create a raffle where the prize is a free PEMF service. Or, you could offer a complementary PEMF session for your patients with the purchase of a complete PEMF treatment package.
PEMF can help your patients safely and effectively manage knee pain. Incorporate it successfully into your practice and it can benefit you both.