When To Use Caution
Paraffin wax treatments supply moist heat but overheating can cause burns.
Wonder if its safe to use ice when youre burning up with fever? Theres nothing wrong with using cold to bring down a fever, says Dr. Kriegler.
Heat For Soreness After Exercise
A surprisingly interesting problem: DOMS can be so severe that it gets mistaken for a muscle strain, an actual injury. See A Deep Dive into Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness: The biology & treatment of muscle fever, the deep muscle soreness that surges 24-48 hours after an unfamiliar workout intensity.
Perhaps the most popular therapeutic reason to get into a hot tub is to try to beat the pain of DOMS that nasty 2428 hours of muscle pain you get after unfamiliar exercise. But DOMS is mostly invincible. Researchers have proven over and over again that there really is no effective treatment for it.
Except, maybe, heat?
For a long time, warm underwater jet massage hot tub jets was the only treatment that had ever shown any potential, in a 1995 study.13 But it was a small and flawed piece of research and most people know from personal experience that a soak in a hot tub may take the edge off, but hardly constitutes a miracle cure for DOMS. I mostly ignored that evidence.
In 2006, we got some good science news: more persuasive data, surprisingly good results in treating DOMS in the low back with a heat wrap, a wearable device that applies heat for hours at a time.14 Another small study, but this time a more persuasive one. Eureka? Proof needs more data, but this makes it well worth trying heat on your sore muscles after exercise. Happy heating!
When To Spay A Chihuahua After A Heat Cycle
Keep in mind, that it takes roughly three months for your Chihuahuas hormones to return to a normal state following a heat cycle. For that reason, we recommend you do not spay your Chihuahua until at least three months after her cycle. Your Chihuahua will inevitably have heat cycles unless she is spayed.
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Heat And Cold Therapy For Arthritis Pain
Heating pads: To avoid burns, remove heating pads if the area becomes uncomfortably warm. When to use caution Paraffin wax treatments supply moist heat but overheating can cause burns.
A heating pad is great for relieving back pain in folks over 50. Back pain is a major problem for people over 50 . These folks need a handy, affordable way to obtain relief, and a good heating pad gives them that. Take the Sunbeam Heating Pad Back Wrap we profiled above. Its designed to address lower back pain.
The use of a heating pad for cats with arthritis is one of the efficient, convenient, and comfortable ways for your cat to alleviate the pain from arthritis. Veterinarians even suggest the use of heating pads as a way of combating the symptoms of arthritis. The reason why heating pads are an effective arthritis treatment is that warming the affected area relaxes the joints and tendons and it improves blood circulation.
To help heal and increase blood flow to the affected joints while relieving pain, heat therapy is often the best option. This is where a hand heating wrap or pad comes in handy. I was recommended one particular brand for relieving pain in the hands caused from arthritis and that is the Active Wrap brand.
Heating pads. Commercially available heating pads can be effective. I have advised a number of patients to try the Thermophore moist heating pad, says Dr. Fields.
Heating Depth: How Far Does It Go
Roughly a degree Celsius or two at a couple centimetres depth, give or take, depending on how and where its done.
Scientists have tested this. For instance, in 1998, Draper;et;al heated subjects triceps muscles with hot packs for fifteen minutes, and then checked their temperature with a needle probe like a very thin meat thermometer .10 They found an average increase of 3.8C at a depth of one centimetre, and .78 at three centimetres.
To go deeper into this topic, see Icing, Heating & Tissue Temperature. It describes more science, and covers factors like the delivery mechanism, anatomical differences , and the effect of adipose tissue.
I think this data clearly shows that superficial heating is an easy way to modestly increase tissue temperature up to a couple centimetres which is most of the volume of most muscles for whatever thats worth. The 3.8C increase in the muscle shallows is something, but .78 change at 3cm depth and a lot of muscle is that deep is clinically trivial, well within the range of healthy variations in core body temperature.
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The Benefits Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles, as well as your immune system. You get most of your vitamin D from direct sunlight when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays.
According to Cancer Research UK, the length of time you need in the sun to make enough vitamin D depends on skin type, time of day or year, and where you are in the world.
There are no set guidelines on how much time is needed in the sun, but those with lighter skins may need just 10 minutes of sunlight every day in the UK, while those with darker skin may need around 25 minutes.
There are guidelines on vitamin D supplementation for everyone in the UK, says Professor Walker-Bone. But if youre worried about your vitamin D levels and joint pain, its important to get advice from your GP or rheumatology team. They can check your vitamin D levels, ideally in the winter months when they are likely to be lower.
Some people find their psoriasis gets better when theyre out in the sun, but more research is needed to see if sunlight helps psoriatic arthritis.
Natural sunlight can help skin psoriasis, but doesnt seem to help joint symptoms, says Professor WalkerBone. Many people with psoriatic arthritis dont have very bad skin, so PUVA treatment cant help.
What Are Heat And Ice Therapy
Simply put, heat therapy and ice therapy also known as thermal therapy mean applying something hot or cold to an affected area, which can affect how your body responds to pain, stiffness, and other arthritis symptoms.
Many arthritis patients swear by both heat and ice as part of their treatment plan whether for osteoarthritis, which is wear and tear to a joint that occurs when the cartilage breaks down, or inflammatory types of arthritis, which is when inflammatory chemicals from an overactive immune attack the joint.
For Eddie A., who has psoriatic arthritis, warm baths are a go-to part of his self-care routine. In fact, before he was diagnosed with PsA, he would find himself needing to sit in the tub for 30 to 45 minutes each morning before work just to loosen up my hands, he recalls.
Heat and ice are everything for me, Deanna K., who also has psoriatic arthritis, told CreakyJoints.
In its latest treatment guidelines for the management of osteoarthritis, the American College of Rheumatology conditionally recommends thermal interventions for osteoarthritis in the knee, hip, or hand, for example. In other words, theres likely little harm in trying it, but its not a magic bullet.
Even though heat and cold are opposites, they can both reduce inflammation and ease pain and stiffness around the joints. They do so in different ways and may have different uses. That said, there is little scientific research on when to use one form over another.
Using Heat Or Cold Remedies For Arthritis
A major concern that arises is how exactly should one apply these methods or how often can they be used? We recommend using moist heat or ice packs in any of the above-mentioned forms at least twice a day for significant relief from your pain and stiffness.
In a research conducted at the American College of Rheumatology, they stated that five to 10-minute ice massages applied on the pain site within the time span of first 48 hours of pain onset can provide relief effectively. So can heat treatment, which relaxes the muscles in the body. Heat packs should preferably be used for pain that lasts longer than 48 hours.
Which Types Of Heat Therapy Help Arthritis Pain
You can choose from the following popular types of heat therapy for arthritis pain:
- disposable heat patches or belts available at most drugstores
- hot packs
- moist heating pad
- therapeutic mixture of paraffin and mineral oil
- warm bath
- warm whirlpool or hot tub
- warm, moist towel or cloth
You may also sit on a stool that has rubber tips for safety while letting the warm shower hit the affected area. The constant heat flowing on the arthritic joint or pain site helps to keep pain minimal and allows for easier movement.
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Cold Packs Reduce Inflammation
Acute-on-chronic pain from arthritis is associated with some internal inflammation and ice application may help temporarily numb the pain. However, prolonged use is not recommended. Here are some benefits of cold application for pain.
- Cold pack may soothe acute inflammation, signs of which are redness, heat, and swelling. Ice packs are a non-toxic way of alleviating acute pain, though temporarily.
- Application of ice packs after intra-articular injections is advised to decrease post-injection pain.
- Use ice packs for injuries or inflammation of ligaments and tendons; and in cases of sprains and bruises
- Ice packs may help alleviate the pain of degenerative arthritis where the pain is not from inflammation but degeneration. However, there is limited evidence for such a use.
Apply for about 15-20 minutes for mild pain and/or stiffness; and repeat after a 30-minute interval.
When Heat Therapy Is Effective
Heat therapy can offer benefit in the following scenarios:
- For pain relief not associated with acute trauma or acute inflammation
- To relieve muscle spasms and muscle tightness
- To enhance muscular flexibility or range of motion of your joints
For acute trauma or acute inflammation you might be interested in Cold Therapy for Arthritis.
If you are unsure of whether or not to use heat, ask your doctor or physiotherapist.
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Water As Heat Therapy
In general, I do not recommend soaking or prolonged submerging of an open wound. Although whirlpool baths used to be widely used with burns and wounds, we now know that such practices create a breeding ground for infection.
I would say the majority of my clients with arthritis report that they start each day with a long, hot shower to help them slowly work out their joint stiffness and help them get moving.
Soak in a tub of warm water, or a garden tub with jets. Some clients use Epsom salts in the bath.
A small number of my arthritis clients have jacuzzis or hot tubs. In Texas, taxes paid on these spas are reimbursable with a doctors letter. These units have jets to agitate the water. Some have jets and spouts that can be directed to specific areas on your body, which can act as a mini-massage.
However, exercise caution with spa tubs. The warm water is not only relaxing, it decreases blood pressure. When public spas say limit to 10 minutes, this is related to drops in blood pressure that can potentially be dangerous. Never go in the spa alone. There is a very real danger that you could pass out from low blood pressure.
Whirlpool or Foot Spa
Try a foot spa. There are many models and a wide price range available. Its like a whirlpool for your feet. Why not use it for your hands too? Small tabletop whirlpool baths are also available.
When To Use Heat For Joint Pain
Heat tends to be more beneficial for the types of everyday joint pain, such as stiffness, that ;people with arthritis experience. You can use dry heat, like from a heating pad, or moist heat, like from a moist towel warmed up in the microwave for 20 to 60 seconds. Moist heat tends to transfer through the skin more quickly and efficiently, Dr. Torres-Panchame says.
How to Use Heat for Joint Pain
As a guideline, dont apply heat to an area of your body for more than 20 minutes at a time or you could risk burning your skin. As with ice, dont put a heated object on your skin without some kind of protective barrier, like a cloth or towel. Heat also can follow ice therapy once the cold brings down swelling and inflammation, Dr. Torres-Panchame says.
As with ice, being careful and attentive is important to prevent injury. If something feels too warm, then probably its too warm, Dr. Bose says. So the temperature needs to be comfortable, ideally, not too hot, because it can burn your skin.
Types of Heat Therapy
Safety with Heat Therapy
Check your skin after five minutes to make sure there are no signs of burns and check again a few times while using heat, Dr. Torres-Panchame says. If you start seeing blisters forming, that is too hot. You need to remove the heat or else you can cause skin damage, she said.
This is especially important for people who have neuropathy or any other condition that makes them less sensitive to touch and temperature.
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Best Overall: Biofreeze Professional Pain Relief Spray
Extra-thick consistency, so it takes longer to rub in
Although you can certainly use Sportscreme in situations where exercise or movement wasnt involved, it is a good option for those with arthritis who may have overdone it on a particular day with walking, housework, gardening, or other activities. Or, if youre doing something that you anticipate will leave you sore, you can also use the product ahead of time. Sportscremes clean fresh scent is polarizing: some find it pleasant, while others would prefer a product with no scent at all.
Active Ingredients: Trolamine salicylate | Dose: Apply generously to the affected area.; Massage into painful areas until thoroughly absorbed into skin. Repeat as necessary, but not more than 4 times daily. | Uses: Temporary relief of minor aches and pains
Pure Speculation About Why Heat Might Be Good For Trigger Points
Trigger points are probably aggravated by stress, and being warm is a pleasant and comforting sensation, as long as we arent overheated to begin with. But it probably goes beyond that
Relaxation reduces resting muscle tone. You can have tight muscles without actually being in frank spasm. There are many degrees of muscle tone between deep relaxation and a charlie horse. Many otherwise healthy people live in a state of uncomfortably high muscle tone, their muscles always a little clenched and exhausted, probably with some specific areas even worse from awkward working postures. This state is inherently uncomfortable, like being tired from exercise but without the endorphins and it may be fertile ground for trigger points. If so, any reduction in muscle tone may be quite helpful.
Electric heating pads have been around for as long as weve have any kind of electric;appliances.
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Heat Is Reassuring And Reassurance Is Analgesic
Our comfort zone is a warm place. And so, almost no matter what kind of pain you have
To reduce pain, we need to reduce credible evidence of danger & increase credible evidence of safety.
Lorimer Moseley. Explainer: what is pain and what is happening when we feel it? TheConversation.com.
The brain probably interprets a safe source of warmth as good credible evidence of safety, for basic psychological reasons related to the environmental and social conditions we evolved in. Cold kills! Hypothermia has been at or near the top of the list of threats to our safety throughout all of prehistory and most of history.8 And we also associate warmth with contact and intimacy another powerful goodness.
So a nice controlled source of warmth is probably just about the most basic reassuring thing there is. And thats always good for pain.9 You might mistake this for a psychological effect, and it is in a sense, but its more useful to look at it as applied neurology: leveraging what we know about how pain neurology works. Its more akin to triggering a reflex than a mind game.
Some like it hot
How hot is too hot? It depends on your tolerance. Some like it a lot hotter than others. Comic by Jake Likes;Onions
When To Be Careful With Heat Therapy
Cold therapy should be used with caution or possibly avoided in the following scenarios:
- Over an area with compromised circulation or sensation
- Over an acutely inflamed or swollen joint
- Over an open wound or infected area
- In the presence of a confirmed malignancy/cancer
- Medical conditions such as hemophilia
If one or more of these apply to you, or you are concerned about how to safely use heat therapy, check with your doctor or physiotherapist.
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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.