Oct. 18, 2006 -- Magnets failed to provide pain relief after surgery for patients in a new study.
The study was based on 165 patients who had had surgery at a hospital in Colombia. Researchers found that patients who had a magnetic device placed over their surgical wound fared no better than those with a sham device, casting doubt on the theory that magnets can lessen pain - at least in surgery patients.
The study was presented in Chicago at the American Society of Anesthesiologists' annual meeting. Researchers included M. Soledad Cepeda, MD, PhD.
Cepeda is a visiting professor at Tufts University's medical school and is also on staff at Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia.
Cepeda's team studied 165 patients with moderate to severe pain after surgical procedures. The study doesn't specify what operations they had had.
All patients were at least 12 years old.
The researchers randomly placed a magnetic device or a sham device containing no magnets on the patients' surgical wounds.
During the next two hours, the patients rated their pain every 10 minutes on a scale of 0-10, with zero being no pain and 10 being maximum pain.
They got morphine doses to bring their pain intensity down to a score of "4" or less.
The results show similar pain intensity ratings and morphine requirements in both groups.
The researchers conclude that magnetic therapy "lacks efficacy" in controlling postsurgical pain and "should not be recommended for pain relief in this setting."
The study doesn't address magnet use for other types of pain.