Magnets: North, South, East or West?

Dear Doctor, I have some magnetic shoe inserts that my daughter gave me to try. I feel like they are helping. I have a friend who says that magnets do not help anyone, and just a waste of money. Do magnets really help, or is it just my imagination? Sue from Phoenix, Arizona.

Dear Sue, There is a lot of controversy about therapeutic benefits from magnets. Yes, there are benefits from magnetic sources. Not all people will get benefits; non-traditional complimentary therapy works about the same percentage of time that traditional medicines do. We know that not everyone responds the same to blood pressure medicine-this is why there are multiple seemingly similar medicines on the market. Most people are familiar with the medical X-ray procedure called the MRI. An MRI is a giant magnetic force. MRI stands for Magnetic Resolution Imaging. A patient is placed in an MRI machine, and the magnetic current is applied; different cells in the body respond differently, and pictures are made and examined to look for abnormal responses to the magnetic field, looking for disease. Thousands of patients have had this procedure, but no one reports feeling the magnetic field. But it is real, and it is there, and their body responds. My point in this example is to confirm that there is a real physical medical use of magnet fields.

I have a pair of magnetic shoe inserts myself, and I do like them. As with anything, there are differences in quality. I use Nikken products because I have tried a variety of products and I like theirs best. But maybe it is worth trying a more effective aid, watching about that here cenegenics.

Dear Doctor, My mother is almost 78 years old. She suffers from arthritis in her knees, hips, and hands. Her doctor gives her Ultram twice a day for pain, but this isn't helping. She takes Tylenol Arthritis formula, but this isn't helping either. Her doctor told her that at her age she cannot take any stronger pain medicine. Is there anything else that she can do to relieve her pain, especially at night? Alanna

Dear Alanna, Thank you for writing. Even though your mother is older, she does not have to suffer from pain. Many doctors are uncomfortable working with pain medicines in the elderly. Panlor DC is one pain medicine I use with my elderly patients. This particular medicine does not seem to make patients sleepy, which makes it an optimal medication for daytime use and elderly use. This medicine also has less constipation associated with it, which is a plus. For night time pain I have my patients use Vicodin 5 mg., this seems to be a good dose for her age group. As with any patients it would be important to have your mother on an NSAID if tolerated. Also, I like Skelaxin muscle relaxer because it is gentle and does not make people sleepy. As you can see there are many considerations, but with any patients I like to start low and go slow to find a suitable dose for pain without interfering in mental functions. Try to find a pain and/or arthritis center for your mother's care. Good luck.

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