April 17, 2003

The Rest of the Story

(Don't fail to miss Part One!)



So. I'm having a typical hectic day in the clinic hearing in agonizing detail about the pains of others and being responsible for treating them. Meanwhile I was having my own agony, up close and personal. The all-too-familiar gnawing pain below my shoulder blade was killing me. On an out-of-the-way shelf I spotted these things the 'dude' had left me back in the winter. I stuck one over the painful 'trigger point' and went back to work, expecting nothing at all to change. A couple of hours later, I realized I had not been aware of the pain. Hmmm. Coincidence, I thought. But after replaying this scene a half-dozen times over the next month, I was reluctantly starting to admit there may be a treatment effect.

In 1997 when I first encountered them, therapeutic magnets (yes, I confess, that's the mystery item) were a fairly new phenom in this country (at least in the East). Now they have found their way into many sports and health-related products... not because, to my knowledge, a strong cause-effect relationship is understood in scientific terms, but for many people they seem to reduce or eliminate some kinds of pain.

It's tough to argue with experience, especially your own. My evidence that magnets have a biological effect on pain was my own personal experience. I had found a way to control a worrisome chronic pain that had not responded positively to any other method available to me as a medical professional working full time in a Pain Management Center!

There is an incredible amount of hype and hysteria and misinformation about magnets and pain. But there are also some tantalizing indications that even in early controlled studies, something is going on here. I'll just leave you with these medically-supported couple of links, if your interested.

Not all magnets work well (or at all) for all pains all the time in all people. The variables are all over the map, and I certainly can only speak to my own experience. I hope I live long enough to see this mystery fully explored, understood, and used appropriately for the pervasive problem of pain. Because as I always say... PAIN HURTS.

Posted by fred1st at April 17, 2003 06:25 AM | TrackBack
Comments

i'm forever a skeptic on all things.... BUT, since the body is a complex electrical and chemical machine, it does make a certain sense that the magnet would work. i think it a good thing that you tried this without really believing in it and forgot about it until you realized your pain was gone hours later. that in itself speaks volumes.

have you tried the magnet again on this or other pains?

Posted by: bud at April 17, 2003 08:34 AM

I'd have to agree with Bud, given that the body is one huge electrical conduit, magnets probably can and do work in certain instances and on certain pain. My mother swore by them and, used them to help in controlling her arthritic pain. And your case is a positive one too, Fred.

I'd love for someone to make a magnetic hat to use when migraines start... better than remembering to take a red pill followed by the blue one and then... you get the picture.

Posted by: Alexandra at April 17, 2003 01:56 PM

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