Thursday, June 13, 2024

Does Heat Or Cold Help Arthritis Pain

Infrared Sauna Therapy Helps Improve Joint Function By Loosening Up Stiff Joints And Muscles

How to Relieve Arthritis pain [with heat and cold therapy]

The infrared light technology is built with heat therapy that causes your blood vessels to expand, which increases blood flow and brings more nutrients and oxygen to your joints.

Safe infrared rays also help increase flexibility by loosening up the connective tissues around your joints. This can help improve movement and reduce pain.

Recommended Reading: Coffee Rheumatoid Arthritis

One Simple Inexpensive And Effective Way For Patients To Treat Painful Joints At Home Is The Application Of Heat Or Cold

The trick is to know when to reach for a heating pad and when to use a towel-wrapped bag of ice or frozen peas to ease arthritic pain. We explain how temperature works to soothe a joint, and we distinguish between the type of pain that responds to heat versus the type of pain that responds to cold therapy.

How To Treat Joint Pain

Whether to use a hot or cold treatment to provide relief depends on the source of the pain.

Heat increases blood flow to an affected area, which promotes healing and relaxes muscle spasms. Cold restricts blood flow, reducing swelling and inflammation. It also numbs pain around the affected area.

Generally speaking, ice is better for inflammatory pain. You can tell if a joint is inflamed if its red, swollen, or warm to the touch. Relieve inflamed joints by applying a gel ice pack, cold pack, or even a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a T-shirt to the injured area.

For joint pain not caused by inflammation such as osteoarthritis opt for heat. The Arthritis Foundation recommends placing a moist heating pad wrapped in a layer of cloth on the affected joint or soaking it in a warm bath. Heat treatments also can be effective for rheumatoid arthritis when youre not having a flare-up.

Read Also: What Does A High Rheumatoid Factor Mean

How Does Heat Work

When I say heat, what I mean is a warm compress, hot water bottle or wheat cushion applied to an area of skin around an injury. You could also get these effects from a hot bath or shower, but this would be a less targeted way of treating your knee.

Heat works roughly in the opposite way that ice works. It, too, has a number of effects to the body when applied around an injury:

  • Heat causes an effect called vasodilation to the blood vessels around an area which means a widening of the vessels, increasing blood flow to an injured site. You wouldnt want to use heat on a recently sprained ankle
  • Heat doesnt affect the nerves like ice does, but it does increase healthy blood flow to an area, which can speed up healing in some injuries . It also helps to flush away the nasties within the blood that invade an injured area.
  • Heat has an effect on the surrounding muscles and joints whereby it loosens them up by making the soft tissues more elastic. This basically means you get more flexibility in a body part just by heating it up! Try to stretch a muscle in the cold, then try to stretch the same muscle after a hot shower youll find you can stretch much further after the heat treatment.

Use Cold To Treat The Acute Pain Caused By Inflammation And Swelling

Using heat and cold for pain relief

Pain following activity or a period of exercise is the result of soft tissue injury broken capillaries leak blood and serum into adjacent tissues and cause localized swelling and inflammation. When a long walk or an afternoon in the garden leaves your joints feeling thick and painful, use cold. Cold applications cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing further leakage and additional swelling, and relieving pain by numbing the sore joint. Use a bag of ice, a bag of frozen peas, or a gel-filled cold pack wrapped in a towel to protect your skin. Apply cold for 10 to 20 minutes. Remove for at least 20 to 40 minutes, and then repeat if necessary.

Don’t Miss: Symptoms Of Arthritis

If You Answered With Stiffness In The Knee Muscles

Heat, heat and more heat. Honestly, the best results Ive seen come when someone has applied heat to the knee muscles to allow better movement and less of that horrible cant-bend-your-knee sensation.

For best effects, use this method:

  • Start sitting in a chair
  • Take a hot water bottle
  • Slip it over your thigh and apply it to the stiffest area
  • Keep it there for 15 minutes, then remove
  • Allow the skin to cool to a natural temperature, then repeat the process
  • Always look out for any signs of heat burn on your skin and remove immediately if you see or feel anything.

Also Check: Is Cycling Good For Arthritic Knees

The Donts Of Applying Cold Packs For Arthritis

  • Cold application is known to worsen the stiffness. Therefore, in general, cold packs should be in case of chronic muscle pain and on stiff joints.
  • Never use cold packs on a shivering or febrile person, even the one suffering from arthritic pain you may confuse the brain by sending wrong temperature signals, thus aggravating the already bad condition! Remember, the doctor said, use tap and NOT ice water for sponging your febrile sibling?

Read Also: Side Effects Of Arthritis Medication

Should I Use Heat Or Ice For Acute Injuries

If the new injury is red, swollen, or inflamed, then cooling the injury may help prevent inflammation. For example, if your pain stems from a muscle injury, treat it immediately with RICE — rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest the injured body part and then apply ice. You can use an ice pack or a pack of frozen vegetables or fruit for 20 minutes. Then take it off for 20 minutes. Add compression with a firm elastic bandage. Elevate the injured part to keep swelling to a minimum.

Before using moist heat or ice therapy, be sure your skin is dry and free from cuts and sores. If you have visible skin damage, don’t use cold or heat. And always protect your skin with a towel. After using heat or cold, gently move the arthritic joint to reduce stiffness.

Show Sources

The Sweating Caused By The Infrared Rays Helps Remove Toxins From The Body Which Reduces Inflammation

Try Hot and Cold Therapy Daily to Eliminate Bone and Joint Pain

The incredible body has an inbuilt detoxification system, but through illness and given the modern-day toxic world, it can be overwhelmed. Good thing infrared saunas work to detoxify the human body and strengthen the immune system.

When you sweat in an infrared treatment, youre releasing toxins like heavy metals, pesticides, and other pollutants from your body. This detoxification process can help alleviate arthritis symptoms by reducing inflammation.

Recommended Reading: Whats Rheumatoid Arthritis

Recommended Reading: Ra Pain Relief

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis degrades and erodes many of the bodys systems, including the joints, eyes, lungs, skin, and blood vessels.

An autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis damages the lining of the joints, causing severe swelling, pain, fatigue, and sometimes deformity of the joints and limbs.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is episodic. This means the condition flares up during specific periods and finds remission at other times. Rheumatoid arthritis begins by affecting smaller joints, fingers and toes in symmetrical alignment, e.g. right and left at the same time. As the condition worsens, it affects larger joints and eventually the cardiovascular system and internal organs.

Understanding the factors behind the flare ups can help individuals manage the condition. Remaining in stress response for prolonged periods appears to be a strong causative component for flare-ups.

According to the NHS, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000 people in the UK. It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old. Women are three times more likely to be affected than men.

Alternating Heat And Cold

In some cases, alternating hot and cold therapy has the best outcome. Some neuralgia patients have reported that alternating hot and cold packs work best, so you should experiment to determine what works best for you. If several treatments with one type of therapy do not work, try using the opposite therapy.

Read Also: How Long Does It Take Broken Wrist To Heal

Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Painkiller For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Heat Therapy Helps Relax Stiff Joints

Learn different ways to ease joint pain using warm water or a hot compress.

Heat Therapy Helps Relax Stiff Joints

Learn different ways to ease joint pain using warm water or a hot compress.

Looking for a natural way to get your joints moving in the morning? Close the medicine cabinet and try an age-old remedy that has stood the test of time: heat.

If you have a chronic condition like fibromyalgia, arthritis, or lower back pain, try heating things up. Soaking in warm water or applying a heated compress is one of the oldest, cheapest, and safest forms of complementary therapy. Research has shown that heat treatments can loosen stiff joints and relieve achy muscles.

Here is how it works. When you warm up a sore joint or tired muscle, your blood vessels get bigger. This allows more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to be delivered to the injured tissues. Better circulation means more relaxation for those stiff muscles and joints.

Stay away from heat if you have an acute injury or are having a flare. If you have a sudden onset of swelling and redness from overdoing it yesterday, you are better off using cold treatments for a few days. Cold has the opposite effect of heat: it reduces blood flow and decreases inflammation.

Here are a few simple ways to heat up your daily routine.

Here are a few simple ways to heat up your daily routine.

Take a Steamy Shower

Apply a Warm Compress

  • Dip your hands or feet in melted paraffin wax . Wait for it to cool and peel the wax off.

  • Managing Pain

    Cold Therapy For Joint Pain

    Psoriatic Arthritis: How to Use Heat and Cold Therapy

    When arthritis pain causes a sensation of burning, cool it off with cold applying an ice pack or even a bag of frozen vegetables can help to numb areas affected by joint pain. Cold therapy can reduce inflammation, a major cause of arthritis joint pain and stiffness. Placing a cold pack on a swollen joint can also help bring it back down to size, which will also lessen joint pain.

    Also Check: Home Remedy For Arthritis In Hands

    When To Use Cold Therapy:

    • If you have had a recent injury where swelling is a problem.
    • Apply an ice pack, frozen gel pack or even a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to the affected area. You should never apply a frozen item directly to the skin, as it can cause damage to the skin and tissues.
    • Apply cold treatment as soon as possible after an injury.
    • Use cold therapy for short periods of time, several times a day. Ten to 15 minutes is fine, and no more than 20 minutes of cold therapy should be used at a time to prevent nerve, tissue, and skin damage.
    • Elevate the affected area for best results.

    S Of Using Cold Therapy

    Different methods of cold therapy include:

    • A bag of frozen vegetables: Wrap a bag of frozen peas or something similar in a thin, damp cloth or towel and apply it to the affected area. A bag of ice cubes can also be effective.
    • A frozen towel: Take a damp sponge or dampen and fold a towel and place it in the freezer for around 15 minutes. Remove it from the freezer, place it in a plastic bag or thin cloth and apply it to the affected area.
    • Reusable DIY cold packs: Fill a clean, spare sock with rice and place it in the freezer, or fill a resealable plastic bag with liquid washing-up detergent. Take out of the freezer when necessary.
    • Ice or gel cold pack: Buy an ice pack or gel pack to freeze. Choose the shape and size suitable for the affected areas.
    • Ice massage: Take a paper cup, fill it with water, and place it in the freezer. Once frozen, peel away the top part of the cup, leaving a small section at the bottom to hold onto. Rub the exposed ice in small circles over the sore area, avoiding any part where the bone is close to the skin, such as the elbow point or kneecap.
    • Instant ice packs: People can buy single-use ice packs that they snap to activate. These may be useful when other options are unavailable.

    Cold therapy will not affect the bodys internal temperature, as it targets the tissues and muscles close to the surface of the skin. Tips for using cold therapy include the following:

    You May Like: Rheumatoid Arthritis Hand Pain Relief

    Emf Radiation From Electric Heating Pads

    Recent reports on EMF radiation from electric heating pads show a disturbing correlation between daily exposures and chronic health problems, ranging from headaches to certain types of cancer.

    However, recent FDA testing showed no evidence of any danger with current models and suggested some companies may be overstating the safety levels. How do we make sense of the information?

    Many people believe that electric heating pads can be dangerous, but recent tests show there is no evidence to support this view.

    Although you may hear about new models and their safety, these newer models are simply designed to keep your air conditioner at the right temperature.

    They cannot cause you any harm unless you use them incorrectly. The safest model is the one that you choose to purchase.

    Some users feel that electric heating pads are unsafe because they can create short-term and long-term health problems by emitting electromagnetic frequencies into the body.

    There is no evidence to back up this view. Indeed, studies have shown that such devices actually block or interfere with electromagnetic fields from cell phones and other wireless devices.

    What this means is that it is not the electric heating pad itself that is causing the problems it is instead the frequency emissions from other sources that give rise to the symptoms.

    Electromagnetic fields are harmless to human beings and not at all related to illness.

    Hot And Cold Therapy For Arthritis Joint Pain

    Should you use heat or ice for joint pain?

    By Diana Rodriguez , Reviewed by Pat F. Bass, III, MD, MPHHas a weekend tennis match left you stiff and sore? Or did you trip on a step and bang your knee? When these and other little aches and pains of life appear, many people reach for a heating pad or an ice pack.Of course, you can also use these quick, effective strategies to alleviate the chronic joint pain of arthritis the trick is knowing whether heat or cold is the best choice to relieve your pain.

    Also Check: Is Vicks Vaporub Good For Arthritis

    Use Heat To Treat Chronic Stiffness In Arthritic Joints

    Heat encourages blood vessels near the surface of the skin to expand, increasing blood flow and relaxing muscles. When you wake up with sore joints, or if you feel stiff after a period of inactivity, a heating pad or a hot shower or bath will stimulate blood flow to your joints and help to make them feel more limber. A heat treatment is also a great way to prepare arthritic joints for exercise or activity.

    Heat Vs Cold Therapy For Joint Pain

    Applying heat or cold can offer an inexpensive and easy way to relieve arthritis-related aches and pains. However, there can be confusion about when to use heat versus cold therapy. Heat can relax muscles and improve joint lubrication. Heat therapy is typically used to relieve muscle and joint stiffness, help warm-up joints prior to activity, and/or relieve muscle spasm. Cold therapy can help reduce the inflammation, swelling, and pain related to joint arthritis. Cold application is also often recommended for acute bone and joint injuries.

    Some patients may even get best results by alternating between heat and cold therapy. For example, heat may be utilized in the morning to âloosen-upâ stiff arthritic joints and cold application subsequently used later in the day to reduce swelling. This alternating process can be repeated throughout the day for pain relief.

    Most often, cold therapy is recommended with certain types of painful arthritis inflammation flares, such as seen with gout and pseudogout. Other types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, may benefit from both heat and cold therapy. No specific universal guidelines exist for when to use heat or cold therapy for joint pain, and a quick web search will yield varying recommendations. People with arthritis joint pain are advised to experiment with both heat and cold therapy to find which works best for their individual symptoms.

    Recommended Reading: Symptoms Of Arthritis In Knees And Legs

    Should I Use Heat Or Cold For My Arthritis Pain

    Its a common question when trying to find relief for your symptoms- should I use heat or cold for my arthritis pain? The answer to this question simply is there are therapeutic benefits to using both hot and cold treatments to help address your pain symptoms, especially the pain associated with arthritis. Both heat and cold treatments can stimulate the body to heal itself. The trick is knowing when to reach for the heating pad or the ice pack or both and how long to use each treatment to alleviate the pain being experienced.

    Heat is an effective treatment for loosening stiff joints and soothing tired muscles. It loosens the body up prior to exercise and can help with relaxation and reducing muscle spasms. It also increases blood flow to an area and promotes healing. Heat however is not recommended on swollen, red or irritated joints, that is where a cold pack will be helpful. Cold treatments are effective for acute pain when constricting blood flow aids in decreasing inflammation and swelling.

    Cold treatments include applying a frozen gel pack or a frozen bag of vegetables to the affected area, helping to reduce inflammation, leading to joint pain. Switching between hot and cold therapy can offer excellent arthritis pain management benefits, as long as each one is used appropriately.

    Popular Articles
    Related news