Magnet Therapy

To investigate the therapeutic effects of wearing a widely available permanent static magnetic device for patients with RA.

Specific objectives

1. To determine the actual therapeutic effectiveness of a magnetic wrist strap in terms of the following outcomes:

• pain
• inflammation
• functional status
• general health
• quality of life
• use of medication

Note: Specific outcomes assessed will be used to provide a composite measure of disease activity.

2. To identify specific factors that may predict or mediate therapeutic effects of magnet therapy.
3. To identify any specific factors which mediate observed placebo effects.
4. To evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of copper bracelets, and their potential role as placebos in magnet therapy research.
5. To report any adverse events or reactions relating to the use of devices employed.
6. To gather economic data that could be used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of magnet therapy.

Inclusion criteria

1. 18 years of age or over.
2. Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis within medical records.
3. Currently prescribed analgesic medication, NSAIDs or DMARDs.
4. Chronic pain: either persistent or intermittent over a minimum period of three months prior to recruitment [44].
5. Current pain: greater than 30/100 mm on a pain visual analogue scale (VAS) within the last 24 hours despite medication.

Exclusion criteria

1. Pregnancy.
2. Pacemaker or similar device.
3. Not responsible for administering his/her own medication.
4. Dementia or memory impairment, either documented in medical records or if suspected indicated by a score of 6 or below on the Abbreviated Mental Test [45].
5. Diagnosis of malignant disease within medical records.
6. Forthcoming orthopaedic surgery within the next 25 weeks.
7. Known allergy to copper.
8. Regular use of a magnetic or copper device at recruitment.

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