The effect of exposure to pulsing electromagnetic fields on migraine activity was evaluated by having 42 subjects (34 women and 8 men), who met the International Headache Society’s criteria for migraine, participate in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Each subject kept a 1-month, pretreatment, baseline log of headache activity prior to being randomized to having either actual or placebo pulsing electromagnetic fields applied to their inner thighs for 1 hour per day, 5 days per week, for 2 weeks. After exposure, all subjects kept the log for at least 1 follow-up month. During the first month of follow-up, 73% of those receiving actual exposure reported decreased headaches (45% good decrease, 14% excellent decrease) compared to half of those receiving the placebo (15% worse, 20% good, 0% excellent). Ten of the 22 subjects who had actual exposure received 2 additional weeks of actual exposure after their initial 1-month follow-up. All showed decreased headache activity (50% good, 38% excellent). Thirteen subjects from the actual exposure group elected not to receive additional exposure. Twelve of them showed decreased headache activity by the second month (29% good, 43% excellent). Eight of the subjects in the placebo group elected to receive 2 weeks of actual exposure after the initial 1-month follow-up with 75% showing decreased headache activity (38% good, 38% excellent). In conclusion, exposure of the inner thighs to pulsing electromagnetic fields for at least 3 weeks is an effective, short-term intervention for migraine, but not tension headaches.
Headache 1999 Sep;39(8):567-75
Sherman RA, Acosta NM, Robson L.
Orthopedic Surgery Service, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA 98431, USA.