A handheld device can change the way a person feels pain, researchers say.

Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMFT) is used to treat pain in people who suffer from osteoarthritis and fracture, but it has never been used in treating muscle pain.

The device is roughly the size of a computer mouse. Researchers say that holding this device for just 30 minutes can relieve muscle pain.

"In testing the PEMFT, using a machine called an e-cell, I wanted to determine whether the device could really have an impact on debilitating conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and muscle tears and sprains experienced by elite athletes," Harry Banyard, Edith Cowan University (ECU) School of Exercise and Health Sciences said.

The therapy aims at repairing the injured tissue by nudging the cells to grow. This is done by sending a field of magnetic pulses through the injured tissue. Each magnetic pulse induces a tiny electric current that stimulates cell growth. Many studies have shown that this therapy is effective in reducing pain and swelling along with other treatments like ice packs.

"Current treatments for these conditions include costly trips to physiotherapists and remedial massage therapists. This device could provide an alternative," Banyard said

"The results suggested that the e-cell treatment significantly enhanced the recovery of muscle function including a rapid return of strength and range of motion, significantly reducing swelling and tenderness," Banyard said.

Elite athletes undergo a lot of training and stress. An injury could lead to difference between winning and losing. Using this device, an athlete and get back into a good form in very less time, the researcher says.

"For an elite athlete, being able to recover quickly can have a significant impact on their performance, a hundredth of a second can mean the difference between winning or losing, so any measurable improvement this device can provide is valuable," Banyard said.

The device could also be used in hospitals to treat people who have muscle pain and could be used by people who love to gym but at times get a bit too far and end up in an injury.