MagnetsPainProf. Ernst

Evidence does not support static magnets for pain relief

One exception might be osteoarthritis.

Professor Edzard Ernst and colleagues from the Peninsula Medical School in the UK have reviewed the studies and reanalyzed (meta-analysis) the results.

First, the details.

  • All studies of static magnets for treating pain were considered.
  • Patients had to be randomly assigned to treatment.
  • Studies had to include a placebo or a weak magnet as the control, with pain as an outcome measure.
  • The mean change in pain, as measured on a 100-mm visual analogue scale, was the primary outcome.

And, the results.

  • 9 out of 29 potential studies were included.
  • Overall, there was no significant difference in pain reduction associated with the use of static magnets.
  • Although there was a lack of support, the value of static magnets for osteoarthritis pain could not be ruled out totally.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “The evidence does not support the use of static magnets for pain relief, and therefore magnets cannot be recommended as an effective treatment.”

However, “For osteoarthritis, the evidence is insufficient to exclude a clinically important benefit, which creates an opportunity for further investigation.”

9/26/07 15:18 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.