How can magnetic fields help with pain?

Pain is a normal part of being human. Our ability to experience pain can both save and disrupt our lives.

Pain is a signal from our nervous system telling us that something is wrong. Acute pain, as from a rupturing appendix, is a savior. We need that pain. We don’t want it, but it is a necessary part of life.

Chronic pain, however, is a different story all together. Once you have determined the source of the pain, the reason for the pain, you are left with two problems: the health issue, and the pain itself. The best approach is not to simply treat the pain, but to properly rid the body of the underlying cause. Too often, treatment is targeted only at symptom relief.

Pain is transmitted by very tiny nerve fibers in our skin, blood vessels, and muscles, to even larger nerves, moving up the extremities, to the largest nerves in our spinal cords and brains. Once a nerve cell is irritated, it becomes increasingly excitable even by a small stimulus. It will constantly fire, giving off what is perceived as a persistent pain signal. There is a wide range of sensations generated by the same nerves – from an itch to an intense stinging, lancing, or even burning pain. Eventually, the nerve can become overwhelmed to the point of numbness.

Several studies have shown that magnetic fields actually decrease the firing of nerves, and can help bruised or swollen nerves to recover, even if the nerve is severely damaged.

Magnetic fields have been found, in animals and in humans, to be equivalent to about 10mgs of morphine in terms of the amount of pain able to be reduced. They help the pain problem at a number of different levels – at the local level, region of the body, and from there, the entire body. Used on the head and/or spine, they may be additive to the benefits of pain medications, allowing for less medication to be used.

Often, magnetic fields do not reduce pain by working directly on the pain fibers themselves. They may be working on reducing swelling, which can cause a build-up of natural chemicals that are irritating to the nerve and can increase local acidity. By improving circulation to the swollen area, magnetic fields can reduce the chemical mediators of swelling and clear the area out, so to speak. Magnetic fields may also reduce pain caused by a lack of oxygen to the area, which results from poor blood flow due to tense muscles or constricted blood vessels.

Because magnetic fields also act on acupuncture meridians, they will have many of the benefits that acupuncture does in terms of stimulating endorphins and bringing about other hormonal changes.

All the actions of magnetic fields in tissues happen simultaneously. That being said, the body will determine what actions it requires at the time of treatment. If the body is healthy and balanced, many of the actions of magnetic fields will be ignored. The body will always decide what it needs, and that is the beauty of magnetic fields – they only act to stimulate the body’s own systems.


Dr. Pawluk did an interview with This Week In America where he discussed painkillers and the damage they do to our bodies. Listen here: