Transcript: Marilyn asked “why does laying on my mat make my arms and hands ache? Does that mean I shouldn’t use it?”

The real question here is why are the arms and hands aching?  Do they ache every time you lay on your back for that same amount of time without using magnetic therapy? If so, it’s a physical problem in your body, not the magnetic therapy, that’s causing the aching. There’s a good chance that the physical issues are coming from your neck, and if you don’t have your neck properly supported, you’re more likely to get that aching in your arms and hands.  

The issue could be arthritis or a disc problem in your neck.  It could also be a result of mobile phone use. The stretching in the spine that results when your head is bent down constantly is causing all kinds of chronic pain problems for people. This can also happen with reading papers on the desk or using a computer keyboard with the monitor too low so that your spine isn’t in its proper position. There’s a great discussion on the summit about the spine, and how spine positioning contributes to pain problems.  

If the aching issue isn’t duplicated in the same position, for the same amount of time, without the magnetic field therapy then we need to look at the PEMF therapy.  I recommend that people go “low and slow,” starting with lower intensities and gradually working up.  Magnetic fields increase energy and circulation in the tissues.  

Think of magnetic field therapy like physical training.  If you want to run a marathon, for instance, you have to start with short distances and train for longer endurance.  The same is true with magnetic field therapy.  You have to see what your tissues can handle before moving to the next level of intensity, length of treatment, and frequency of treatments (the dose of magnetic field therapy).  

If you start “low and slow”  and don’t have any aching, but when you reach a certain level of magnetic stimulation in time or intensity that creates the aching, you are stimulating the nerves too much. 

This only happens in five to ten percent of people I see, but I’ve seen it often enough that I do warn people about it.  If you do have significant irritation in your nerves, you need to back off the treatment time and/or intensity to a comfortable level for a few weeks and raise it slowly, just as you would with physical training.

If you find that you can’t do any magnetic field therapy at all without nerve irritation, you might need to try other avenues to calm the inflammation first. Physical therapy, heat, and other therapies might be very important to your healing.  Short term laser therapy to the tissue may be a good option, just to get you off the edge of the cliff.  In a worst-case scenario, you might need to consider conventional medical approaches, such as a steroid injection or two, just to quiet everything down. 

I don’t often recommend steroids, but in this case, it could decrease inflammation enough that you could then return to magnetic field therapy.  You might even be able to do a higher dose of treatment, in either intensity or time, because of the steroid injection. 

One last thing that I would say, Marilyn, is that if you haven’t had an MRI of your neck, I would definitely consider that.  I like to say that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.  You really need to know what you are dealing with in order to get the best advice.