Electromagnetic field treatment effective for osteoarthritis pain

Clinical question: 
Is electromagnetic field treatment (EFT) effective for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA)?
Bottom line: 
EFT had a moderate benefit for patients' pain relief. There is inconclusive evidence that EFT improved physical function, quality of life or radiographic joint structure. No serious adverse effects of EFT were reported. The pulsed EFT trials lasted approximately 4 to 6 weeks, with treatment duration ranging from 27 to 60 hours. All of the studies' participants had OA of one or both knees, or cervical OA, diagnosed by clinical symptoms and radiographic evidence, and the OA was painful despite medical treatment.
Caveat: 
The quality of the evidence of all included trials was moderate or low. The protocols for pulsed electrical stimulation or pulsed EFT device setting and application varied widely between studies, as did outcome measures.
Context: 
EFT is currently used by physiotherapists. It is thought it may promote growth and repair of bone and cartilage based on principles of physics, including Wolff’s Law, the piezoelectric effect and the concept of streaming potentials.
Review CD#: 
CD003523
PEARLS No: 
445
Date: 
October, 2014
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy