Skip to the content

Therapeutic effects of magnetic and copper bracelets in osteoarthritis: A randomised placebo-controlled crossover trial

Richmond, SJ, Brown, SR, Campion, PD, Porter, AJL, Klaber Moffett, JA, Jackson, DA, Featherstone, VA and Taylor, AJ 2009, 'Therapeutic effects of magnetic and copper bracelets in osteoarthritis: A randomised placebo-controlled crossover trial' , Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 17 (5-6) , pp. 249-256.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (1MB) | Request a copy


Objectives To test the effectiveness of a typical magnetic wrist strap for reducing pain and stiffness, and for improving physical functioning amongst patients with osteoarthritis. Design A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial. Each participant wore four devices over a 16-week period. Setting Forty five patients with osteoarthritis were recruited from general practices in rural and urban areas of Yorkshire. Interventions Experimental device: a commercially available magnetic wrist strap. Control devices: a weak magnetic wrist strap, a demagnetised wrist strap, and a copper bracelet. Main outcome measures The WOMAC Osteoarthritis Index, the McGill Pain Questionnaire—Pain Rating Index (PRI), a pain visual analogue scale (VAS), and medication use. Results No difference was observed between devices in terms of their effects on pain as measured by the primary outcome measure (WOMAC A), the PRI and the VAS. Similar results were obtained for stiffness (WOMAC B), physical function (WOMAC C), and medication use. Further analyses of the PRI subscales revealed a statistically significant difference between devices (P = 0.025), which favoured the experimental device. Participants reported lower sensory pain after wearing the standard magnetic wrist strap, than when wearing control devices. However, no adjustment was made for multiple testing. Conclusions Our results indicate that magnetic and copper bracelets are generally ineffective for managing pain, stiffness and physical function in osteoarthritis. Reported therapeutic benefits are most likely attributable to non-specific placebo effects. However such devices have no major adverse effects and may provide hope.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Magnetics; Copper; Osteoarthritis; Pain
Themes: Subjects / Themes > R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences > Centre for Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0965-2299
Depositing User: Users 29196 not found.
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2010 12:43
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 23:47

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year