Thursday, 18 September 2014

Mind Over Magnets?

Last year, after the move, I struggled to walk because of lower back pain. It was the reason I saw an Occupational Therapist and eventually got a walker.

I don’t use the walker all the time, definitely from the house to the car (it carries my groceries so a plus). If I have a cart to lean on in the store I use my cane to get to and from the store. My system seems to work, finally after a year my back has improved and though I’m not entirely pain free, it is at its worst only if I have to lift something or have to stand too long.

The funny thing is, I didn’t realize how much my pain had been reduced until it hit me full force this morning, once again making it difficult to walk, a struggle to stand. The memory of all that pain came back and I was discouraged.

Then I realized I wasn’t wearing my magnet bracelet. I put it on immediately and within the hour, with a bit of exercise to “walk it off” (meaning I took the garbage out) it eased and tonight I’m back to status quo.

I got curious and did some research. Magnet strength is described in terms of gauss or tesla. A tesla is the equivalent of 10,000 gauss. Magnets used for treatment have a higher magnetic strength than typical magnets i.e. refrigerator type magnets. Therapy magnets are in the range 200-10,000 gauss, a frog magnet usually 200 gauss.

Apparently magnet therapy is big business, with annual sales in the U.S. of more than $500 million annually. I can understand why, when I read the list of conditions that magnet therapy is supposed to help. Most are painful conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, carpel tunnel, diabetic neuropathy, migraine and even painful periods.

They even stated on WebMD that magnet therapy helps in diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, OCD and PTSD.

I’ve written about magnet therapy before, joked about the fact I paid $2.99 for my bracelet, and that I wear it wrong side out, as the ‘right’ side had Canadian flags on each rectangular bead. I think I might look at some better bracelets, ones made for medicinal purposes, like the athletes wear. One that is waterproof so I don’t have to take it off and risk forgetting to put it back on.

As I was reading I found that magnet therapy is used for weight loss, but not as a bracelet. Sigh. I must be wearing the pain control bracelet, and now I need the weight loss necklace.

My neighbour had a painful ankle and wrapped her magnet necklace around it and got relief. I have a friend who wears one at her lower back when driving. Another friend who wears a bracelet on each wrist as she knits a good portion of each day.

Years ago I wouldn’t have believed it, but I was young, active and basically pain free. When you get older, you’re ready to try anything that will help make your day more comfortable.

My mallet finger tends to ache, I wonder if I can get a magnet pinkie ring?

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