Arthritis affects close to 50 million Americans. The pain can range from mild to crippling. Patients and doctors have explored numerous methods to ease the pain. Unfortunately, a miracle cure simply does not exist.
Many patients purchase copper bracelets or magnets to help manage arthritis pain. They often report that the bracelets and straps actually reduce their suffering. The claims prompted British researchers to conduct a study.
The scientists randomly selected 70 patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Each patient was given four devices, including a copper bracelet, two magnetic wrist straps of different strengths, and a demagnetized wrist strap.
As reported by PLOS One, the patients wore each device for five weeks. Between each five-week period, they went one week without wearing any device.
Each arthritis patient completed a pain assessment throughout the study. Doctors assessed the patients’ blood work and joint swelling.
Five patients failed to complete the study. However, the data from 65 patients revealed some interesting results. The devices did not seem to provide any relief from pain, immobility, or inflammation.
Stewart J. Richmond, who led the research, acknowledges that the devices do seem to have a placebo effect. Essentially, they work because patients expect them to work.
Richmond acknowledges that placebos can be somewhat helpful. However, he feels patients have a right to make informed decisions using honest information.
The biggest issue with the bracelets and the magnets is the cost. People suffering with arthritis spend over $1 billion on the bogus devices every year.
As reported by Web MD, there are natural treatments that have proven effective in relieving arthritis pain. Richmond specifically suggests dietary fish oils. However, he cautions patients to consult their doctor before starting any new treatment.
Arthritis patients are often overcome with pain. Unfortunately, countless companies have found ways to capitalize on their suffering.
[Image via deviantArt]