Friday, January 27, 2023

Is Hot Or Cold Better For Arthritis

Break Out Your Yoga Mat

Hot water bag or ice pack? What works in arthritis?

One of the reasons that your pain may seem worse when its cold is because people are less inclined to move or go outside when its chilly, says Anca Askanase, MD, a rheumatologist and director of rheumatology clinical trials at Columbia University Medical Center. Doing some light exercise, like yoga, Pilates, tai chi, or Qigong, or taking a short walk will not only help warm your body up on cold days but will help your joint pain as well, she explains. One of the best things you can do is to keep moving, even when youre in pain, Dr. Askanase says.

Buy A Really Good Snowsuit

Think puffy snowsuits are just for kids? Turns out they are ideal for arthritis patients as well, Amy S. says. I have a down coat that I bought from Lands End that has a hood and goes almost to my ankles, as well as fleece-lined snow pants, and I wear them any time Im going to be outdoors in the cold for more than a few minutes, she says. Do I look ridiculous loading my groceries into my car? Probably. Do I care? Nope. Sometimes I even wear them in my house. Keeping my joints warm is everything.

How Often Should I Use Ice Or Heat For Joint Pain

As long as youre being smart about which therapy you use and careful about how to use it, Dr. Torres-Panchame says they are okay to use repetitively throughout the day.

It doesnt need to be a formal sit-on-the-couch-with-your-leg-up type of treatment. You may find youre already benefitting from thermal therapy without even realizing it. If taking a hot shower or bath every morning is very soothing to your joints, then youre already reaping the benefits of heat therapy.

Other patients say that washing their hands with hotter-than-usual water is a quick way to sooth their hands throughout the day. Some people report that they actually like washing dishes after meals because its an easy way to use heat therapy.

Read Also: Can Osteoarthritis Turn Into Rheumatoid Arthritis

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.

Should You Use Ice Or Heat For Joint Pain

Aches, injuries and pains, oh my! It

1 Minute Read

Medically Reviewed by UPMC Orthopaedic Care

Whether arthritis or injury is causing your joint discomfort, youve probably received varying and maybe even contradictory advice on how to manage it at home. Hot and cold therapy are two of the most common treatments for joint relief but when should each of them be used? Heres how to know whether to use ice or heat for joint pain.

The appropriate treatment for pain depends on its source. Joint pain may be the result of:

  • An injury, such as a sprain, strain, or fracture.
  • A viral infection.

Arthritis, one of the most common causes of joint discomfort, encompasses more than 100 conditions. Among the most typical forms are:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy joint tissue and causes inflammation.
  • Osteoarthritis deterioration of the cartilage that protects bones and joints.
  • Psoriatic arthritis which causes internal and external inflammation.
  • Gout a condition in which acid builds up in a joint and causes inflammation.

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These Basic Therapies Can Help Ease Arthritis Pain And Swelling

Two of the simplest, least expensive methods to relieve your pain are heat and cold treatments.

Heat treatments, such as heating pads or warm baths, tend to work best for soothing your stiff joints and tired muscles. Heat enhances circulation, delivering nutrients to joints and muscles. Its good for getting your body limber and ready for exercise or activity. Cold is best for acute pain it restricts blood vessels, slowing circulation and reducing swelling. It also numbs nerve endings, dulling pain.

You can try some of the following forms of heat and cold therapy to find out which provide the best pain relief for you.

When Heat & Cold Arent Enough

Of course, it should be stated that neither heat or cold canhelp treat the underlying source of osteoarthritisa loss of cartilage in thejoint. They can just address the symptoms, but over time, the joint willcontinue to break down. In order to slow down this process and prevent it from affectingthe functionality of a joint, daily heat or cold should be combined withprofessional care recommended by a doctor. Regenerative therapies like stemcell injections, PRP, and prolotherapy can dramatically improve the overallhealth of a joint and often help a patient avoid the need for invasive surgerydown the line.

So in the end, heat and cold both offer a fast and easy wayto deal with osteoarthritis symptomssimply choose the one that works best foryou. Just be sure to consult a doctor so you can protect and preserve yourlong-term health as well!

About the Author

Dr. PaulTortland is board-certified in both sports medicine as well as regenerativemedicine, and his clinic, the New England Stem Cell Institute, was one of thefirst in the nation to offer treatment using stem cells derived from a patientsown body fat and bone marrow. He has helped countless osteoarthritis patientsget out of pain and reclaim their ability to move without resorting to surgeryor medication, and you can learn more about what he could do for you by giving our Glastonburyoffice a call today.

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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.

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Easy Ways To Apply Heat Treatment In Gout

Arthritis Pain Remedies: Part 1 – Regular Exercise | Hot & Cold Treatments

Besides medicines, there are specific other treatments that you can try to get relief from the pain of gout. Hot compression is perfect for any arthritis pain. As gout is also a type of arthritis, you can try hot compression for this. But, you should always consult your doctor about this.

Now, why hot compression is useful for treating gout pain? Once you apply heat to the aching muscles and joints, it relaxes that area and reduces the inflammation and swelling. Besides, heat application can increase lubrication at those stiff muscles and joints to reduce pain. The main reason for gout is the crystallization of uric acid at your joints. When you do hot compress, it provides comfort to these areas, and you feel relieved. There are different ways to apply heat treatment. Have a look-

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Range Of Lower Back Problems That Can Benefit From Heat And Cold Therapy

Heat and /or cold therapy is beneficial either as a primary or adjunctive therapy, but people often overlook this treatment because its simple, inexpensive, and readily available. The following common lower back conditions may benefit from heat or cold therapy:

  • Lower back pain from common conditions, such as herniated or degenerated discs, spinal stenosis , or spondylolisthesis

    Read more about Causes of Lower Back Pain

  • Direct lower back injury from falls, sprains, sports injuries , or collisions1
  • Pulled back muscle due to excessive strain or force leading to overstretching of the muscle fibers, such as from lifting weights1

    See Pulled Back Muscle Treatment

  • Exercise-induced muscle soreness, such as a from trying a new exercise, exercising without an initial period of warming up, or overdoing a specific exercise1

Always use heat and cold therapy intermittently, for 15 to 20 minutes, with a 2-hour break in between to avoid skin and nerve damage.

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.

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Getting The Most Out Of Heat & Cold

Often, using both heat and cold can be tremendously beneficialfor those with osteoarthritis, particularly when it comes to exercise . One common approach isto apply heat to the joint to loosen up the muscles and increase blood flowbefore activity, exercise, and then use cold to prevent any swelling and painafterward. This allows many patients to remain active without having to paythe price afterward.

When To Use Heat To Help Your Hip

Arthritis In Knee

The primary intent of a heat based application is to increase blood flow circulation and, as such, stimulate the body’s recovery rate for older or recent injuries, long-term post surgery recovery and more recently – for some regenerative therapies performed by doctors and pts. Warmer temperatures should be used approximately 3 to 5 days after you first have the injury or even later if the swelling has not reduced significantly. Heat should not be started for a least 2 weeks after surgery because inflammation levels will be very high as the healing process starts over again. Any use of heat should also be combined with gradual movement to stretch out your hip and increase range of motion.

If you have a chronic hip injury that keeps getting re-injured you should use heat before activity to loosen up your tissue . When used at this time the warm temperatures naturally extend the elasticity of the joint, making it more movable / pliable for activity.

Sometimes we feel pain while doing a certain activity – should you still use heat? Using heat in the morning before you start your day or before activity can help to boost the healing process and reduce your risk of re-injury. Too much heat can make your inflammation worse. Cold treatments with a Cold Compress or Ice Pack should be used part-way through your day when you suffer from on-going pain and inflammation – it is a natural pain-reliever.

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How Do You Use A Back/hip Tshellz Wrap For Your Hip

HEAT is used after you’ve reduced your swelling / inflammation and the sharp pain is less intense . Warming up your tissue is a natural way to encourage blood flow to muscles, tendons and ligaments. Increasing the temperature of soft tissue will result in increased blood flow circulation as the body sends more blood there to attempt to remove this same heat. It’s the blood in your body that will bring oxygen, nutrients and water to your injured hip to help with healing.

When heat is applied to the hip, veins and blood vessels will start to get bigger to allow more blood flow through to your damaged or torn soft tissue. This in turn relaxes your hip, making the tissue more flexible and elastic. This is why heat is used on older injuries, to loosen tissue and bring in the blood flow needed for soft tissue to repair. Your body will begin to heal itself after it is injured – increasing your blood flow with heat will, in most cases, speed up this natural process – often surprisingly well.

Doctors usually call this process ‘Vasodilation’.

Heat can Make Inflammation, Swelling and Newer Injuries Worse – How?

When we injure ourselves, we start healing right away. The body will naturally raise the temperature at the site of the injury resulting in the inflammatory response . This ‘fake fever’ leaks blood flow to the area to cool it down and start the healing process.

What’s Better To Treat Your Hip Muscle/tendon Injury: Ice Or Heat

Ice and heat are the best treatment combination for you if:

  • You’re looking for relief from bursitis, tendinopathy, muscle strain/spasm, minor tears, or an impingement and want to boost the natural capability of your body to heal soft tissue injury.
  • You want to minimize the cost of injections, medications, hospital visits. Perhaps you want to try and avoid surgery – an option you want to avoid if at all possible.
  • You want to reduce the risk of worsening the injury.
  • You want to reduce the odds of a future re-injury, pain, tear or swelling in your hip or lower back.
  • You want to control your own treatment and healing at home, on your own time.
  • You’re looking for a tried and tested method of healing that has been in use for centuries as fundamental conservative treatment recommendations. Physicians still prescribe heat and ice ALL THE TIME for treatment of soft tissue injuries.

Combining cold and warmth is a simple yet effective way to get immediate pain relief and promote long-term healing. In your lifetime you’ve probably had your mom, family doctor, nurse, surgeon or physical therapist tell you to use ice right after you’re injured and something warm from time to time once the swelling’s gone down. It’s a simple yet very effective way to relieve pain and promote healing in your hip or lower back.

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Ice Your Back Immediately After Exercise To Reduce Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness and back pain can occur from extensive workouts, trying a new type of work out, or even from excessive walking. Soreness from these activities may start on the first day but typically continues to peak until the third day.4 This phenomenon is called delayed onset muscle soreness and can cause significant inflammation and pain in your back.

When you have back pain from exercise or exertion, use cold therapy immediately after the activity to reduce tissue damage, inflammation, and pain. After a 24-hour period, use heat therapy to encourage tissue healing.4

Try A Cold Water Bath At Home

How to Treat Osteoarthritis Symptoms : How to Use Cold & Hot Packs for Osteoarthritis

If you’re suffering from pain and stiffness in multiple joints, you may even opt for a full-body cold treatment. It’s easy enough to do at home. Just fill a tub full of cool water and let your body soak. You can make this a relaxing event too by lighting some scented candles for aromatherapy. Baths are great for relaxing with a book or simply listening to some music or a favorite podcast. Just don’t let the water get so cold that you get uncomfortable!

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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
  • 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.

Types Of Heat Therapy For Arthritis

There are several types of heat therapy, called thermotherapy, options for arthritis. Heat therapy improves circulation and causes your blood vessels to expand. This helps your body to deliver more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the affected area, which may reduce inflammation, stiffness, and pain. Heat therapy may also improve mobility, which makes it easier to relax, loosen up, and move.

If a heat therapy session causes swelling, redness, or inflammation avoid further treatments until your symptoms subside. Avoid using heat therapy during a flare-up or the acute stage of an injury. Talk with a healthcare professional before using heat treatments if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.

Do not use heat therapy if you have any of the following conditions:

  • diabetes
  • multiple sclerosis

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