Magnets for Pain: Block Pain at the Source


Magnetic Bracelet

Can magnets relieve pain? It depends...

If there was something you could use that would absorb pain like a sponge, preventing the pain signal from ever reaching your brain, what would you feel? You guessed it… no pain!

Take someone who was paralyzed from the waist down were pinched on the leg, they would feel no pain. Why not? Because the broken nerve pathway means the pain signal never reaches their brain.

But breaking the nerve pathway itself isn’t the only way to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain.

Many pain pills work by changing either the way these signals are carried to the brain or by dulling the pain receptors in the brain itself. Obviously the problem here are the numerous and very dangerous side effect risks almost all pain medicines carry.

Fortunately there’s a completely safe way to block these pain signals… using magnets. Magnetic theory has gotten a bad rap because so many people don’t know how it really works and do it wrong. Plus there are at least a handful of vendors out there who are less than reputable or nearly fraudulent in how they advertise their products.

The good news is magnetic therapy isn’t rocket science… and it works if you know the pitfalls to look out for.

How magnets stop pain

Bear with me a moment as I get just a little technical to help you understand how magnets can really help you get pain relief.

Pain is transmitted from damaged tissue to your brain as a positive electrical signal via the circuitry of your nervous system. As this signal is passed along, nerve cells which normally maintain a negative polarization of -70mV become depolarized and allow the pain signal to advance toward your brain.

By applying the receptive, or negative, side of a magnet along this nerve pathway — preferably closer to the site of the injury — the nerve cells affected by the magnetic field have their depolarization resistance raised. This means it takes a stronger pain signal to depolarize the cell. And pain signals which do make it through the magnetic field are reduced.

Put simply, the magnetic field of a properly placed therapeutic magnet absorbs and eliminates the pain signal!

What you need to know

So let’s put this in practical terms. How can you use a magnet to reduce your pain?

First of all, you need to know that the strength of a magnet’s magnetic field has very little to do with the size of the magnet itself.

A typical large refrigerator magnet with a low gauss (magnetic strength) may do little to help your pain. But a small, highly polarized magnet might provide significant relief.

How high should the gauss rating be? Severe pain and chronic conditions may require a 3,000 or higher gauss magnet as a stronger magnetic field is required to overcome the pain signal.

Gauss ratings come in two forms: surface and core. Core ratings are always higher (typically 3,950 to 14,500) but what you want is a high surface gauss rating (typically in the 2,000 to 4,000 range per magnet).

Buyer Beware!

Magnets are sometimes advertised as therapeutic with a gauss rating of 3,950.

This is a core gauss figure with a weak surface gauss of only 500 that is too weak to help you in any significant way.

Therapeutic magnet surface strength is always measured in even hundreds.

Secondly, placement of the magnet is critical. Regardless of how much you hear about magnetic bracelets, if you’re trying to get lower back pain relief, you’re going to need that magnet much closer to the source of pain.

That’s because magnetic fields decrease by orders of magnitude the farther they are from the site you’re trying to help. For example, a magnetic bracelet only provides about 1/625th of its source strength at your elbow — and virtually none to your back.

Sure, a magnetic bracelet may help improve circulation which has its benefits, but for blocking a pain signal from your back you would still need both a strong magnet (gauss) and close proximity (wear the magnet on your back, not your wrist).

In a nutshell, getting the best results from magnets means using the strongest possible magnet as close to the source of pain as possible. A stronger magnetic field will both penetrate farther and have the ability to block stronger pain signals.

For a reputable source of therapeutic magnets and accessories to help you wear the magnet close to the source of your pain, we recommend products from Dr. Bakst Magnetics.

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Filed Under: Pain Relief
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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