I had a spinal fusion that didn't work. X-rays show there's still movement at that level, and I still have disabling pain. The doctor wants me to try a device that emits electromagnetic waves to build up the bone. Can't I get cancer from this? Isn't it the same energy waves that power lines put out?

The type of electromagnetic field (EMF) your doctor is suggesting doesn't produce radiation and can't be compared directly to power lines. They are both forms of energy on a scale or continuum called the electomagnetic spectrum. When used to enhance bone growth, EMF is delivered in a pulsed form. This means the wave is turned on and off, so you aren't exposed to a steady dose of EMF.

Pulsed EMF still has biologic effects even if it's not strong enough to cause ionizing radiation. The waves produce electric currents in tissues, causing a heating effect. Increased heat in an area brings more blood to cool it off. Improved circulation may be what enhances bone formation and solid fusion.