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Does a Magnet control pain in Arthritis?
Home Health & Fitness Medicine
By: Dr Phil Hariram Email Article
Word Count: 577 Digg it | Del.icio.us it | Google it | StumbleUpon it

  

It is not clear whether magnets were discovered in China or Greece. In Traditional Chinese Medicine dating back to 2600BC, magnetic stones were used to correct imbalance in certain parts of the body. In the Vedas, 1500BC, the lodestone was mentioned in healing.

Today an alloy containing iron, boron and neodymium is very light and practical to use on various parts of the body. This magnet is called the neodymium magnet. Although small, it is very powerful. A neodymium magnet of 8000 gauss weighs 20 gm while a comparable older alnico magnet weighs 90 Kg.

Is there evidence that magnetic bracelets or other magnetic devices reduce pain of arthritis? Unfortunately there are no large controlled trials and no conclusive evidence to suggest that magnets are beneficial. A trial was published in the British Medical Journal in 2004 to determine whether magnetic bracelets will control pain in osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. The conclusion was that pain decreased in the group wearing magnets but the investigators were uncertain if it was a placebo effect.

The reality is that more patients with arthritis are wearing magnetic bracelets and sales of magnetic products are increasing globally. It is uncertain whether this is due to aggressive marketing to a vulnerable group or that patients are actually gaining benefits. Either way using a magnet is safe and harmless. If it is ineffective you can always take the bracelet off. There are some arthritis sufferers who refuse to take their magnets off while there are others who have found no benefit.

According to proponents, magnets work by increasing the oxygen carrying capacity of blood and this produces faster healing of injuries and pain relief. This theory has been used regularly in horse racing where injured horses are fitted with magnets to get them back on the track in a short time.

Conventional medicine dispenses with the idea that magnets can be of any benefit in arthritis. There is, however, anecdotal evidence of amazing improvement from sufferers after wearing a magnet. Of significance, is the improvement in arthritic pets after wearing magnetic collars. Here we can safely rule out the placebo effect.

Dr. Lawson, a GP in UK found that there was improvement in the comfort and quality of his patients' lives after wearing magnetic bracelets but the placebo effect cannot be ruled out. In New York Medical College, Dr. Michael Weintraub tried magnetic insoles and found pain relief in feet of diabetics with peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Lloyd Siberski, a Yale University pain expert said, "Deep down inside I believe magnets work." Carole Barsky in the daily News, June 1999 reported improvement of her severe arthritis of the spine by using magnets.

So is there a role for magnets in the control of pain in arthritis? If conventional medicine was safe and very effective, then this question would be irrelevant. Drugs used to treat arthritis have problems and some have potentially serious side effects.

Magnets are safe. Apart from patients with pacemakers, anyone can use them. If you shop around you will find a manufacturer that gives you a 90 days money back guarantee. You can buy it, try it out and if it is ineffective send it back and recover your money. If it is effective, then you may be able to reduce your analgesics or even discontinue all together. The neodymium magnet retain its magnetic properties for 100 years. Who knows you could have a friend for life.

Dr.Phil Hariram is a retired General Practitioner who has spent 27 years treating arthritis. http://www.arthritissage.com and http://www.arthritissage.com/blog

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