Magnetotherapy – magnetic field in the treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

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Summary of study results concerning the impact of magnetotherapy in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) also known as Bechterew’s disease.

Bechterew’s disease — aim

The aim of this study was to evaluate the magnetic field application in the treatment of AS (alias ankylosing spondylitis or Bechterew’s disease).

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis therapy — place and used equipment

The study was conducted in Czechoslovakia in the 1990’s. The controller and applicators marked JLM-1 and JLM2 were used in the study.

Bechterew’s disease (AS) — scope and description

Jerabek and Žideková performed a therapy in a group of 16 women (aged 19-48 years) and 71 men (aged 22-64 years) who suffered from ankylosing spondylitis disease at different stages of disease severity. All patients were in lying position and they were taking anesthetics prescribed by the attending physician. PMT (JLM-1) was applied topically in the form of 10 sessions with the duration of 10-15 minutes per day). Other rehabilitation procedures were not performed.

The spine mobility was verified by the tests:

  • Stibor’s,
  • Schober’s
  • Thomayer’s (fingertip-to-floor)

as well as by verification of the distance between the chin and the sternum, lateral flexion and head rotation. All tests were performed before and after treatment completion. In case of 48 patients, pain sensations were measured by the use of VAS scale. Before the treatment initiation all patients were determining pain levels by the use of 120 mm ruler. After treatment completion this procedure was carried out again using the unused scale. The medical examination was carried out everyday and, if it was possible, doses of analgesics were reduced.

Patients were divided into two groups:

  • Control group consisted of 14 patients who were subjected to the procedure when the device was off (10 exposures). In this group there was no change in the spine mobility. Two men and two women noticed a subjective improvement. Results of therapeutic interventions were developed by the use of non-parametric tests.
  • Study group consisted of the remaining 73 patients.

AS therapy results:

Patients treated with PMT showed significant improvement in mobility tests (an inflammation of the paraspinal muscles was an exception). However, in this case there was no deterioration in patient’s condition. Researchers relied on the results of Thromayer’s and head rotation tests because they reflect the most important functional movements. Acceptable standard for the Thomayer’s test is 9 cm, while the rotation of the head is – 60 °. Achieved therapeutic results are summarized in the table no. 8 and 9. The positive effect of PMT is noticeable for both measures. Table no. 10 contains a detailed evaluation criteria including spine mobility, pain sensations and taken analgesics. Also in this case the alleviation of pain symptoms through topical application of PMT was stated.

  <9cm >9cm
Before 12 75
After 23 64

Number of patients who were able to achieve the distance between fingers and the ground <9cm nearly doubled.

  Right Left
Degrees <60º >60º <60º >60º
Before 66 21 64 23
After 49 38 44 43
x2 7,411 9,764
P 0,006 0,002

Number of patients who were able to turn their head more than 60 degrees almost doubled.

  Deterioration No effect Less pain, improved mobility, reduced dose of medicine No pain, mobility without change, no need for taking medicine No pain, improved mobility, no need for taking medicine
Control group 0 10 4 0 0
Study group 1 4 16 10 56

The difference in outcomes between the control and study group is evident.

Similar results were obtained by Hlavat’ comparing the effectiveness of PMT and balneotherapy on a group of 136 patients. It should be noted that, in accordance with clinical experience of Jerebek’ and Zidekova’ in the case of ankylosing spondylitis disappearance of symptoms maintained up to 9 years (at least 3 months).

Bechterew’s disease (AS) — conclusions:

According to the presented results the magnetotherapy influence is clearly beneficial. Improvement should be sought in the mechanism of collagen synthesis (joint flexibility improvement) and angiogenesis (stimulation of blood vessel formation).