Magnetic bracelets can help to ease the pain of osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, British researchers said on Friday.
In a study of nearly 200 sufferers of the joint disease, patients who wore a standard-strength magnetic bracelet reported having less pain than those who wore weaker or non-magnetic bracelets for 12 weeks. “We found evidence of a beneficial effect of magnetic wrist bracelets on the pain of osteoarthritis of the hip and knee,” Professor Edzard Ernst, of the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, southern England, said in a report in the British Medical Journal. Although the results are consistent with previous studies that analyzed magnetic therapy, the scientists said they did not know whether the reported improvement was due to the bracelet, the placebo effect, a believed benefit from a treatment that has no effect, or both. “Whatever the mechanism, the benefit from magnetic bracelets seems clinically useful,” Ernst and his colleagues added. The patients wearing the higher strength magnetic bracelets reported the biggest improvement, which the scientists said suggested the magnetic strength is important. The benefits were in addition to improvements from standard treatments for the illness. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, which is a leading cause of disability. It can affect any joint in the body but is common in the knees and hips. Pain in a joint after inactivity, swelling and stiffness are symptoms. There is no cure but treatments can reduce pain and maintain movement.(Source: Reuters Health, Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth, December 2004)