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3.85 kHz PEMF Anti-Inflammatory Effects (study summary)


JOR Spine
Pulsed electromagnetic fields reduce acute inflammation in the injured rat‐tail intervertebral disc

Andrew K. Chan, Xinyan Tang, Nikhil V. Mummaneni, Dezba Coughlin, Ellen Liebenberg, Annie Ouyang, Stefan Dudli, Michael Lauricella, Nianli Zhang, Erik I. Waldorff, James T. Ryaby, and Jeffrey C. Lotz

December 2, 2019


Intervertebral disc (IVD) (spine degeneration) is associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines (cell-signaling proteins).

PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic fields) has been shown to reduce the inflammatory effect in vitro.


  • PEMF reduces degenerative signaling in vivo (in the animal)
  • PEMF promotes healing of acute injury


  • stab rats with a 20 gauge needle to create IVD
  • separate into three groups
    • sham
    • IVD
    • IVD with PEMF
  • PEMF IVD group
    • expose to PEMF
    • 19 mT
    • 85 kHz
    • 4 hours per day
    • one subgroup for 4 days
    • one subgroup for 7 days
  • measure
    • inflammatory cytokine gene expression
    • protein levels
    • anabolic gene expression
    • catabolic gene expression
    • histological changes


Untreated rates had a higher inflammation protein count and gene expression.

Rats treated with PEMF showed inhibited inflammation protein and gene expression.

Both groups exhibited the same histology (cell structure), and anabolic (cell breakdown), and some catabolic (cell construction) profiles.


PEMF at tested frequency and strength has some therapeutic effect on spine degeneration.

PEMF had a greater effect on cell signaling proteins than it did on cell metabolism improvements.


This study shows that PEMF has the potential to heal degenerative spinal disease.

The study was sponsored by PEMF device maker Orthofix.

Orthofix has FDA and European Union approved PEMF bone healing devices in surgical markets.

Orthofix’s legitimacy is already established.

Contrast this to PEMF maker BEMER, which is producing studies just to be able to see their name on the PUBMED website.

Orthofix received FDA and European CE clearance in 2017.

Orthofix’s CervicalStimTM and SpinalStimTM were both approved

These are PEMF bone regeneration devices.

Orthofix says that the CervicalStim and SpinalStim are used in “promoting post-operative spinal fusion.”

Their PhysioStim bone healing device includes a refund if patient compliance doesn’t result in bone healing.

I hope the rats didn’t suffer.

I conclude that Orthofix sponsoring this study is appropriate and not a conflict of interest.