PEMF for sore elbow experience

My son had been working out…lifting, longtossing, working with weighted balls ect. to prepare for his high school baseball season. He went up to an afternoon of skiing at a local resort, fell and hyperextended his throwing arm at the elbow. This was about a month before high school tryouts. His elbow experienced minimal swelling and we iced it. After about of week of rest he tried to play catch and experienced significant irritation/soreness in his elbow , the pain was not on the back “tommy john” side of the elbow. After a couple of more days of rest and ice we went to his doctor who confirmed there was no injury (meaning damaged bones, cartlidge, tendons ect. that he could see). When he throws his arm lays back at the elbow (obviously) this was causing irritation to the area of the joint that was most effected by the hyperextension. He suggested daily icing and more rest.
Tryouts came and went. He made the team based on his previous years performance (All-League as a pitcher) and improved batting skills. After about 5 weeks of rest with only two short attempts to throw the pain was lessened but it would still irritate his arm when he tried to throw hard at all…10 pitches in a flat ground was about the limit. I decided to try PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy. He has gone for two sessions, each lasting about 15 minutes. After the first session he was able to longtoss and throw a 20 pitch pen with just very slight irritation and no soreness. After his second treatment he was able to extend his longtoss to 270-275 feet and throw a 30 pitch bullpen with no irritation or pain. He is scheduled to start his first game of the year on Tuesday (the coach has put him on a 40 pitch limit). If he experiences no trouble after that he will be cleared by the coach to resume all throwing/pitching activity.
I am posting this here because I remember someone asking about the treatment before. Our experience has been very good. Now, this was not a major injury, although, the doctor we went to for the therapy uses it quite a bit in helping recover from surgery or significant joint injuries. I would suggest someone check it out if they are trying to recover from an injury or have chronic soreness.

So let me get this straight.

PEMF is the idea that running a magnetic field through the affected area at a given frequency, lets say 1kHz to 50kHz causes repair to the tissue? This is interesting indeed to myself, as I am a physics major and focusing on electromagnetism especially. The question though is availability. I saw a site that said $95 a session, and only 50 doctors or so use it across the U.S. Is this still the case, and if so, why so few doctors using it? Also, how do you make this more readily available to the public and more affordable? What is the main factor causing the said repair?

I am guessing that the magnetic field is causing a current to be ran through the ankle (a very low current) and this is bringing flow to the joint. If so, why is this working so much more than e-stim? Just something to think about, and I may be getting it wrong completely.

PEMF is legit:

I have mostly seen it in use for osteogenesis, but studies do show it is useful for soft-tissue injuries.

Are there any drawbacks though? What is causing it to work?

CSOleson…
Some bulletpoints from the little handout the doctor we went to gave me…
*Anti-inflammatory, by reducing the enzymes that cause inflammation
*Influences the ion exchange at the cellular level and greatly improves the oxygen utilization of diseased or damaged tissue
*Improves calcium transport increasing absorption of calcium in bones and cartilage in joints

it goes on and on. I know that isent explaining how it works. On the surface the claims can seem a little snake-oilish. However the concept of introducing a stimulus that can flow through an injured area or joint and have things like inflammation, stiffness, pain ect. reduced makes sense. I would think stimulation and increased oxygen flow would be key factors. The doctor we know was able to refer me to several people he has treated that we know in common (one with a bad knee from tennis and one with more of a chronic condition), both experienced great results. Knowing these people and trusting them it made the choice easy.
As for side effects there really are none. Many people purchase smaller units for home use on their own if they have chronic conditions.
As for cost the unit my friend uses he got used for about $30,000. Going into someones office and using up some of their precious alloted patient time is going to drive the costs up…a lot of overhead. I would think one would be more likely to find this treatment in a physical therapy setting than a traditional doctors office.
The thing that first attracted me to the treatment is that it is totally drug free and not invasive. Most treatments for pain involve blocking the pain receptors in some way. Figuring my sons elbow issue was caused by inflammation we gave it a shot. The anti-inflammation effect would be very useful for pitchers and athletes in general I would think. I really wanted to stay away from taking advil or anti-inflammatories and ice is a limited reach for sure. Ice is used as a pain treatment anyway…post throwing. Not a fan of icing. I have been arguing about icing (for normal post pitching soreness, not injury) with my sons coach for weeks now. My friend said this treatment is relatively common in NFL circles.
Anyway, not sure if that was helpful at all. I think at sometime this sort of treatment (along with things like whole body vibration) will become pretty common in MLB circles.

CSOleson…
This treatment may be similar to e-stim. Im not knowledgable enough to comment. The PEMF treatment was first developed by NASA to help astronauts deal with bone density loss while in or returning from space.

Right, I understand that. Basically I don’t see the difference between this and basically putting a body part within a solenoid or toroid and running a current through the said device to create an magnetic field. I am just curious on how it works and what causes the anti-inflammatory response. I’ve got an idea of what may cause it but then again, it still seems out there to me.

You have a friend that bought a $30,000 unit??? Sounds crazy to me. Either way it is interesting nonetheless.

I dont have enough technical knowledge to explain it well, you could probably understand the research better than I. Maybe there is no difference.
He bought the unit for his practice after being treated himself by a physical therapist post injury. He has gotten very good, consistant results.
It does seem a little “out there” at first glance. But, to be honest, if looked at through an unjaded eye a lot of things that are common place in medicine are pretty out there as concepts or ideas. Familiarity makes things seem like intelligent or rational treatment plans. The practice that has become common place in recent years (making up one of the most profitable portions of medicine) of having people swallow pill after pill (while acquiring addictions) to block the bodies pain receptors or the common practice of putting children on brain altering drugs is absurd on its face. In my opinion PEMF certainly can have the appearance of quackery to it…but, most medicine is quackery to some degree. A bad treatment plan presented in a beautiful office with a porsche parked out front is still a bad treatment plan.
But I digress…we had a good experience with it. If you ever have need it would be worth checking it out taking for granted, as you pointed out, you can find a place to get treatment that doesnt break the bank.