Is Pulsatile Electromagnetic Field Therapy a Therapeutic Option for Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Knee?
DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2020.0339-0342german translation / full article
QuestionKnee Osteoarthritis is a very common disease which is not life-threatening, but decreases quality of life substantially. Conservative therapy often is of limited success and requires a multimodal approach. Among other treatment options pulsatile electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) is applied. The question arises whether there exists evidence from clinical trials that this treatment option is of benefit for the patient and should therefore be recommended.AnswerBased on currently available evidence, no recommendation for pulsatile electromagnetic field therapy can be given for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. The results of the studies are inconsistent. While some studies show pain reduction through pulsatile electromagnetic field therapy and no improvement in the physical function, some other studies show minimal improvement in the physical function and no reduction in pain at all. Many studies show no advantage for pulsatile electromagnetic field therapy over sham therapy at all. The complete study evidence points at accidental positive results rather due to multiple testing than to a true treatment effect.