Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) does not appear to be helped by static magnetic field therapy, but probably by PEMF

Aug 19, 2014 | Research

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is something very familiar to athletes or anyone embarking on a fitness campaign unaccustomed to strenuous exercise. According to Physiopedia, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is muscle pain experienced the next day after a workout and usually peaks after 48 hours.

DOMS has been the subject of clinical trials looking into how magnetic therapy might ease the symptoms. The results from trials were not in favour of static magnets. But DOMS is different to a torn muscle, muscle strain, tendinitis or bursitis. Understanding the research and type of pain, empowers you to get the most out of static magnetic field therapy.

There have been two studies looking at the effects of static magnetic field (SMF) therapy on DOMS and three with pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF). Looking at this research provides a valuable lesson in how varying the type of field and strength and duration of treatment will determine whether or not there is a benefit to the patient.

The first study by Reeser (See REF 1 below) looked at 23 non-active subjects who were randomly assigned to an active or placebo group. After exhaustive arm exercises, a relatively weak 350Gauss (35 mTesla) multipolar magnet (Bioflex) was applied around the elbow for just 45 minutes per day for 5 consecutive days. There were no noticeable differences in outcome measures between the two groups.

One could say, “of course there would be no difference”. The magnet used in the Reeser study was too weak AND should have been used all day in order to provide a therapeutic benefit.

So along comes a study my Mikesky (REF 2). Here 20 subjects were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or an active multipolar 750 Gauss (75 mTesla) magnet (by Nikken) to be worn constantly for 7 days. So the strength of the magnet should have been adequate to have an effect and treatment duration was optimal. Even so, the study concluded that the active intervention did not diminish pain perception nor did it speed recovery.

It would be very reasonable to conclude that using static magnets to treat the symptoms of DOMS is a waste of time. If you have found static magnets to be effective in treating DOMS, then please contact us and share your experiences.

Interestingly, a recent study by Jeon (REF 3) did show that PEMF could be an option in reducing the severity and shortening the recovery time for DOMS. So while static magnetic fields were shown to have no benefit, pulsed electromagnetic fields have.

In addition a device called MRegen that produces a pulsed magnetic field has also been shown to speed up muscle recovery. Read more about MRegen here.

Electrotherapeutic Windows is an important concept for why it’s necessary to select the right type of magnet for the job. There is strong anecdotal evidence for instance that Q Magnets do provide a benefit for soft tissue injuries.

1. Reeser, J. C., et al. (2005). “Static magnetic fields neither prevent nor diminish symptoms and signs of delayed onset muscle soreness.” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 86(3), 565e570. PMID: 15759245, doi

2. Mikesky, A. E., & Hayden, M. W. (2005). “Effect of static magnetic therapy on recovery from delayed onset muscle soreness.” Physical Therapy in Sport, 6(4), 188e194. doi

3. Jeon, HS. et al (2014). “Effects of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on delayed-onset muscle soreness in biceps brachii” Phys Ther Sport. 2014 Mar 7. PMID: 24906295; doi

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