Targeted Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (tPEMF)
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As a part of an integrative medicine approach to pain management in our veterinary patients, tPEMF therapy can be an important tool. This therapy method can be helpful in treating conditions including osteoarthritis, generalized pain conditions, inflammation, wound healing, and post-surgical healing.
Here’s how it works- tPEMF utilizes pulsed electromagnetic fields to deliver electrical currents to the tissues. This part gets a little technical, so get ready for some science. PEMF targets the voltage-dependent calcium-calmodulin complex, which is responsible for a number of important biological cascades. When treating our animal patients, the most significant of these mechanisms affected is the inflammatory cascade. By increasing calcium binding to calmodulin, tPEMF leads to the release of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is an important anti-inflammatory molecule, responsible for pain reduction, improved blood flow, and reduction of edema (swelling). Nitric oxide then triggers production of growth factor, which supports neovascularization (new blood vessel formation), tissue regeneration, and eventually tissue remodeling.
When is this therapy helpful? Because of it’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties, tPEMF can be invaluable for post-surgical patients. It reduces inflammation, alleviates post-operative pain, accelerates incisional healing, and reduces the need for post-operative narcotics. In addition to reducing acute inflammation from surgery, studies have shown that therapy with a tPEMF device significantly reduces chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis. Because nitric oxide is important in bone growth and repair, tPEMF therapy can help speed healing of fractures and post-operative orthopedic procedures. The tPEMF device can be used in animals that have undergone surgery for intervertebral disc disease to accelerate recovery and improve proprioception (ability to place feet appropriately). Due to the influence of treatment on growth factors, blood vessels, and tissue regeneration, it can be very helpful to hasten healing of wounds.
So what does this mean for our patients? tPEMF serves as a non-pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory device that can comfortably relieve pain without adverse side effects. Therapy can be delivered through a lightweight loop that can be sent home with patients to use in the comfort of their own home. The device does not have to touch the skin to be effective, and it does not cause any pain or discomfort during treatment. Although tPEMF can be used as a solitary therapy, it is most effective when used in combination with other therapies (surgery when indicated, acupuncture, physical rehabilitation, etc).
Stay tuned for how Animal Hospital of Shawnee Hills will be incorporating tPEMF into our integrative medicine program!
Emily Falk, DVM , CVA