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Will a magnetic mattress cover help reduce pain?

Q) I'm 91 years old and badly affected with arthritis in my right shoulder and knee. The only treatment I have is painkillers; paracetamol and meloxicam. I had a cortisone injection into my knee but it had no effect. I've been advised through advertisements and correspondence that if I invest in a magnetic mattress cover and drink magnetic water the pain will be much reduced or will disappear. Can you tell me if there's any substance in this? I would try anything to reduce my pain but am reluctant to spend £200 needlessly.
Elizabeth Inskipp, Bedford, Bedfordshire (Winter 2009)

A) Well I can sense your desperation and sense of frustration. There are a number of options. Magnetic therapy is one option but I personally wouldn’t recommend you take this route – it'll cost you half your winter fuel allowance and it probably won’t make a big difference to your pain. Your doctor could try stronger painkillers by mouth or by patch, or they could prescribe a cream to rub over the joint. The cream will contain either an anti-inflammatory preparation or capsaicin, made from the pepper plant. If you use the capsaicin cream be sure to wash your hands after applying it as it can really sting if you get it in your eyes. Finally, cod liver or other fish oil may help and, in addition, you'll be taking vitamin D (good for your bones and immune system).

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