Positive and Negative Effects of Administering a Magnetic Field to Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Author: Jolanta Zwolińska1, Marta Kasprzak2, Aleksandra Kielar2, Michał Prokop2
1 Institute of Health Sciences, Medical College, University of Rzeszów, 35-959 Rzeszów, Poland.
2 Student Science Club for Investigation of Physical Energy Used in Physiotherapy, Institute of Health Sciences, College of Medical Sciences, University of Rzeszów, 35-959 Rzeszów, Poland.
Conference/Journal: J Clin Med
Date published: 2024 Mar 12
Other: Volume ID: 13 , Issue ID: 6 , Pages: 1619 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/jcm13061619. , Word Count: 331

Background: Magnetotherapy applied to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) produces anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioedema effects. Observations suggest that the beneficial and adverse effects of magnetotherapy are related to the parameters of the magnetic field applied. This study aimed to assess the positive and negative effects of magnetotherapy, taking into account the type of the field. Methods: This study involved 39 patients with RA, who were randomly assigned to two groups: SMF-static magnetic field (n = 18) and PEMF-low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic field (n = 21). The examinations carried out before and after the therapy included a general assessment of the functional status, assessment of pain severity, measurement of the duration and severity of morning stiffness, computer-aided measurement of the range of motion of the hand joints and measurement of the hand volume using water displacement method. The patients received kinesiotherapy and magnetotherapy, as determined by the randomisation. Results: The findings show improved functional status by 0.26 points on average (p = 0.0166) measured with the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ-20), reduced pain by 2.2 points on average (p = 0.0000) on the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), decreased duration of morning stiffness by 23.2 min on average (p = 0.0010) and reduced severity of morning stiffness by 15.2 points on average (p = 0.0010). The assessment of the dominant hand showed improved range of motion by 1.9 mm on average (p = 0.0036) and reduced volume by 0.9 mm3 on average (p = 0.0230). A significantly reduced duration and severity of morning stiffness was observed in the SMF group. Statistically significant changes in the HAQ-20 scores, range of motion and the volume of the dominant hand were identified in the PEMF group. Conclusions: Magnetic fields improved the functional status and reduced pain, morning stiffness and swelling in the hand. A static magnetic field may be more effective in reducing morning stiffness, whereas a pulsed magnetic field may, to a greater extent, improve function and reduce swelling in the rheumatoid hand. The effects of magnetotherapy reported so far require further observation.

Keywords: magnetotherapy; pulsed electromagnetic fields; rheumatoid arthritis; rheumatoid hand; static electromagnetic fields.

PMID: 38541847 PMCID: PMC10971695 DOI: 10.3390/jcm13061619