Static magnetic field exposure in 1.5 and 3 Tesla MR scanners does not influence pain and touch perception in healthy volunteers

Katharina Kamm, Andreas Pomschar, Ruth Ruscheweyh, Andreas Straube, Maximilian F. Reiser, Istvan Hernádi, Janos F. László, Birgit Ertl-Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Magnetic field therapy is a popular approach to pain therapy, but scientific evidence on treatment effects or even effects on sensory and pain perception in healthy controls is scarce. Methods: In the present randomized, placebo-controlled study, we investigated the influence of static magnetic field exposure on sensory (touch) and pain (pinprick, pressure and heat) perception. Eighteen healthy volunteers (age: 23 ± 2 years, nine women) underwent three 10-min static magnetic field exposures using field strengths of 0 T (placebo), 1.5 T and 3 T within clinical MR scanners in randomized order on three separate days. Participants were blinded to magnetic field strength. Experimental sensory and pain testing was performed immediately before and after each magnetic field exposure. Results: There was no significant effect of field strength on the assessed experimental sensory and pain testing parameters (mechanical detection threshold, pinprick threshold, pressure pain threshold, heat pain threshold and suprathreshold heat pain rating). Conclusion: We found no evidence that a 10-min 1.5 T or 3 T static magnetic field exposure affects experimental sensory or pain perception in young healthy volunteers. Significance: We used clinical MR scanners to investigate the effect of magnetic fields on pain perception. Using a rigorous, straightforward, placebo-controlled design, no effect of static magnetic fields on human experimental pain perception was detected. This provides a base for a more systematic investigation of magnetic field effects on pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-259
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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