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6 Novel Arthritis Devices: What Works and What Doesn’t?

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If you have joint pain or arthritis, you may be exploring different approaches to treat your physical and emotional symptoms. You may feel better when you apply cold or heat to your achy joints, or use herbs, acupuncture, or specific foods and exercises to combat pain or stiffness. Now there are a number of new devices on the market promise to help you beat pain and increase mobility. Using one or more of these devices can bring you comfort and a feeling of control over your life. You can combine them with conventional Western medical treatments such as medications and surgery, or used them on their own, or as complements to other natural therapies. 6 Novel Arthritis Devices: What Works and What Doesn’t Check out these innovative arthritis treatments, and discuss them with your healthcare practitioner to see if they can help you. 1. Biopuncture: A novel pain treatment Biopuncture was recently introduced on the Dr. Oz show as a new way to treat back and joint pain. It marries the principals of acupuncture and homeopathy to relieve pain and inflammation. It works by using injections of diluted, plant-based formulas into the areas that hurt you most. Researchers believe this stimulates your immune system and “wakes up” the natural healing processes. The healing effect comes from your body, not from the products themselves. After several decades of clinical experience and research, biopuncture is considered a safe, effective way to fight pain. It works well for musculoskeletal problems such as sprains and strains, joint pain, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shoulder, back and neck pain, and mild to moderate arthritis. Biopuncture can be used alongside conventional treatments. It’s not a stand-alone treatment, and works best when you combine it with good nutrition and exercise. 2. Magnets: better than placebo? Have you seen all the different types of magnets advertised to reduce arthritis pain? You can find everything from magnetic bracelets, necklaces and shoe inserts to magnetic pads and pillows to sleep on. Magnets are widely marketed for pain control. It’s believed that the magnetic fields ease inflammation, relieve pain and promote healing. Most research on magnets has been done for osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear type of arthritis associated with aging. The results are inconclusive. Some preliminary studies have shown that magnets improved joint pain better than a placebo. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) says, “Preliminary studies looking at different types of pain, such as knee, hip, wrist, foot, back, and pelvic pain, have had mixed results. Some studies suggested a benefit from using magnets. The majority of rigorous trials have found no effect on pain.” The Arthritis Research Campaign says “Magnets are harmless, and even if they only work because of the placebo effect, they might be worth a try.”  3.  Arthritis mitts and booties' revolutionary delivery system For thousands of years, people sought out hot springs to relax and rejuvenate. In more modern times, we look forward to soaking in a hot bath to ease achy joints. Now you can enjoy the benefits of moist heat therapy in spa-like comfort. NatraCure Arthritis Mitts and Booties' revolutionary delivery system makes it convenient to enjoy long-lasting heat relief while you read or watch TV. The secret is the proprietary SmartGel® technology. The mitts and booties have an outer layer made from a luxurious, mink-like fabric, and an inner layer with an innovative gel lining, to bring you deep penetrating, moist heat therapy. The magic happens when you heat the mitts or booties in your microwave oven. The heat is transferred through the gel lining to deliver the moist heat treatment, relieving pain and stiffness and increasing circulation. Enriched with botanical oils, you enjoy a deep hydrating spa experience that softens your skin so it looks and feels healthier. 4. “Pain Gating” with a TENS machine When you bump your knee, a pain message travels to your brain. Without thinking,  you rub your knee vigorously. By doing this, you instinctively outwit your brain. This is because your brain can only interpret a limited amount of information at a time. The faster and harder your rub your bumped knee, the better it feels. This is how the TENS system works. TENS is an abbreviation of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. “Transcutaneous” means across the skin. In simple terms, a TENS machine stimulates your nerves through your skin by using an electrical current. A TENS machine is a small, portable, battery-operated box. You attach electrodes to your body with sticky pads, near or over the painful region. The TENS machine produces millions of tiny electrical impulses, like little electric shocks. These fast electrical impulses travel more quickly along your nerves to your spinal column and brain, and override the slower pain. This is called “pain gating”.  Your brain is bombarded by millions of pleasant electrical impulses, and since it can only deal with a specific amount of information at a time, the pleasant high-speed TENS impulses outnumber your pain signals. This can help to ease certain types of pain, and many people find it helpful, without experiencing side-effects. 5. PEMF: The Revolutionary Cure for Pain? Dr. Oz called PEMF, or Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy “The Revolutionary Cure for Pain.” Used to treat pain and swelling in soft tissue for over 60 years, the treatment uses magnets to create pulsing, moving energy, which can change the way your body copes with pain. On the Dr. Oz show, Dr. James Dillard, a world-class pain specialist, demonstrated  electromagnetic portable pads which produce a therapeutic pulsed electromagnetic field that surrounds the entire body. Family physician Dr. William Pawluk demonstrated the OrthoCor Active Knee System, an FDA-approved device that “combines PEMF energy and thermal therapy to increase circulation and thus reduce swelling, relieve chronic pain and arthritis, as well as improve range of motion.” OrthoCor is available at orthopedic clinics, and through physicians and health care practitioners. PEMF mats are primarily advertised and distributed over the Internet, and retail for $2000 to $3000, but can be rented on a weekly basis. 6. Ultrasound: The wave of the future? When you hear the word “Ultrasound”, you probably think about pregnancy. That’s because this therapy uses sound waves, which don’t omit radiation as X-rays do. This makes ultrasound a safe way to view and treat body structures. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to take pictures of organs, muscles, and tissues in the body, and also to treat certain conditions. In a Healthline article, therapists who were surveyed in 2007 reported that they used ultrasound to decrease inflammation, improve muscle flexibility, encourage healing, decrease pain, and reduce swelling. Ultrasound is a popular treatment for a variety of orthopedic conditions. Most treatments are delivered by therapists, but several ultrasound therapy devices are available to use in the comfort of your home.

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