Almost everyone, at some point, has suffered with the sharp, often excruciating, pain of muscle cramps. Usually, they are caused by overworking or injuring a muscle. But, they can also occur due to dehydration, exposure to cold temperatures, or having a mineral deficiency (particularly, potassium, calcium, and magnesium). Muscle cramps can be chronic in some people with certain medical conditions, such as circulatory problems, kidney disease, or multiple sclerosis (MS).
Muscle cramps generally are a result of a sudden, and extreme, contraction of muscle fibers (most often in the legs). They are usually short-lived and can be tolerated. However, in some situations, they could negatively affect a person's functionality on a daily, or regular, basis.
Often, simple remedies, such as stretching or rubbing the muscles, taking a hot bath, using a heating pad, or using pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, are sufficient for treating temporary or mild cases of muscle cramping. However, they can also be successfully treated using magnetic therapy. Magnetic therapy products and devices create a magnetic field which stimulates blood circulation and helps to reduce tension located in the muscles.
How to Use Magnetic Therapy for Treating Muscle Cramps
First, place the magnetic therapy device directly on the affected area. The magnets must be pressed firmly against the area which is experiencing cramping or pain, so that the magnetic field can penetrate as deeply as possible. Most products and devices come with belts, straps, or wraps to ensure that the magnets remain firmly fixed over the area to be treated.
There are a myriad of products and devices available, but they all work by the same principal, and their functionality is roughly similar. Just ensure that you find one that you can wear comfortably and stays in place.
Generally speaking, the stronger the magnets contained in the product, the more likely there will be positive results. Because of this, you should try to get products which have a higher gauss rating (a measurement of the strength of a magnetic field). The most powerful type of magnets used in therapeutic magnets are neodymium magnets. However, ceramic and hematite magnets are also effective, and widely available.
Some options include magnetic braces, anklets, braces, and wraps which contain a number of spot magnets. All of these products have been used on muscles for treating muscles prone to cramping. Side effects are rarely reported, but some redness or skin irritation may occur at the site of the treatment.
Individual results from using magnetic therapy can often vary substantially. Different people may respond to magnetic therapy treatments more or less than others. Some people report that they get relief almost immediately. For others, it may take longer for results to be felt. Some people also report that they have experienced no positive results from using these products. If it doesn't work after a few days, you can try changing the location that you place the magnets. Do this a few times until you find a configuration that works for you.
Never place magnets or magnetic therapy products on wounds, inflamed/irritated skin, or infected areas. If you use magnetic products on such areas, it is possible that you could suffer from increased pain and irritation. If you do have any of these conditions on the area to be treated, be sure to allow them to completely heal before using any type of magnetic product.
There are some objects and devices that are extremely sensitive to magnetic fields, and thus, should be kept away from magnetic therapy products. This includes many watches, credit cards, magnetic audio/video tape, and computer disks.
Also, do not use magnetic products if you are using other medical devices, such as insulin pumps, pacemakers, or any other kind of electronic, or electrical, device used for medical purposes. Magnetic fields may damage or interfere with the function of these devices. As always, if you would like to try magnetic therapy, ask your doctor first to be sure that it is safe for you.
Be sure to do your research when purchasing magnetic therapy products. This therapy has quickly become very popular and there are some companies trying to cash in on the trend by selling cheap, inferior products that may not be strong enough to be effective. Always thoroughly research any company and go through all their online reviews. You can always ask the members of established, online alternative health communities if they have any recommendations or warnings.