Many people are searching for home remedies for back pain. Magnet therapy is one form of alternative treatment that may bring pain relief. Magnets offer hope to people looking for a safe and cheap way to manage their pain independently.
As with most forms of alternative medicine, magnet therapy has not been sufficiently studied by the scientific community to prove its efficacy in pain management. There is, however, significant anecdotal and historical evidence to support magnet therapy as a plausible form of pain treatment.
Magnets are thought to promote pain relief by affecting the following bodily systems: blood flow, cell activity and the inflammatory process.
The magnetic field created by magnets of certain strength can penetrate the skin and interact with the iron in blood. The motion of iron created by the magnetic field increases blood flow. Blood carries oxygen, nutrients and endorphins to the various tissues of the body. When magnets are placed over an injured or painful part of the body, it is thought to facilitate faster healing by increasing the amount of oxygen, nutrients and endorphins to that area.
Cell damage is common in injured or diseased body parts. Healthy cells are balanced by the pairing of positive and negative ions. Positive external ions align with negative internal ions with the cell membrane in between and vice versa. If the ions scatter on the inside of the cell, the external ions will scatter as they attempt to find opposing ions to align with. Since proper osmosis (diffusion of nutrients and fluids through the cell membrane) depends on the balance of ions, imbalance allows extra fluid to be absorbed into the cell from surrounding tissues. This in turn causing nutrients to be expelled from the cell. Cellular damage, and eventually death, results. The body cannot heal without proper cell functioning.
The magnetic field created by therapeutic magnets is thought to realign cellular ions, allowing the cell to retain vital nutrients.
Inflammation is one way the body attempts to heal itself, but also one way in which cell damage occurs. When the body notes an abnormality, such as injury or infection, it sets in motion the inflammatory response. This involves the dilation of blood vessels and increase in blood flow to the injured area. An increased amount of fluid is pushed into cells, which causes the ion dispersion described above. If inflammation is not held in check and becomes chronic, cell damage occurs.
Magnet therapy is thought to realign the ions that are disrupted during the inflammatory process, excreting the excess fluids from within cells and maintaining balance.
Magnet therapy is a complex balancing act between increasing blood flow and keeping restoring proper cell functioning. Back pain associated with inflammation, such as caused by injury or osteoarthritis, may benefit from magnet therapy based on the above theory. It may also be a suitable treatment for headaches caused by inadequate blood flow.
The cost of magnet therapy depends on the intricacy of the product. The cheapest form of magnet is the simple press-on dot magnet that can be applied to a painful area. An example of such a product for under $10.00 can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/HoMedics-MAG-10-Homedics-Magna-Dots/dp/B00005375R/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top. More complex magnetic therapy products include braces, belts and even mattresses. These sell from $70.00 to several hundred dollars. Always read customer reviews of products before committing to buy. Amazon.com is a great site for comparing prices and reading reviews.
Compared to medications and surgery, magnet therapy is very safe. It is, however, not safe for pregnant women, people taking blood thinners, on bleeding wounds or for people with epilepsy. If internal bleeding is possible, magnets should not be applied to the site. Finally, people using a pace maker or who have metal implants should avoid using magnets. If you have any health conditions, consult a doctor before magnet use.
While inconclusive in the scientific community, magnet therapy is a potentially viable treatment option for many pain conditions, include back pain and headaches. For more information on magnet therapy from The National Center For Complementary and Alternative Medicine, see http://nccam.nih.gov/health/magnet/magnetsforpain.htm.
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