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.
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?
Symptoms Of Arthritic Hip Pain
Patients suffering from hip arthritis may experience many symptoms in their hip joint. Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with the condition:
- A dull ache or sharp pain in the joint
- Reduced range of movements
- Stiffness and swelling in the joint
- The pain may radiate to the groin, knees, buttock, and inner thigh areas at times
Of course, if you suspect you have arthritis, consult with your personal physician as soon as possible for the best treatment plan for you and your individual medical conditions.
Also Check: Is Coffee Good For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Appendix 1 Medline Search Strategy
1 exp osteoarthritis/ 2 osteoarthritis.tw. 3 osteoarthrosis.tw. 4 degenerative arthritis.tw. 5 exp arthritis, rheumatoid/ 6 rheumatoid arthritis.tw. 7 rheumatism.tw. 8 arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid/ 9 caplan’s syndrome.tw. 10 felty’s syndrome.tw. 11 rheumatoid.tw. 12 ankylosing spondylitis.tw. 13 arthrosis.tw. 14 sjogren$.tw. 15 or/114 16 heat/tu 17 .tw. 18 cryotherapy.sh,tw. 19 .tw. 20 exp hyperthermia, induced/ 21 .tw. 22 .tw. 23 or/1522 24 clinical trial.pt. 25 randomized controlled trial.pt. 26 tu.fs. 27 dt.fs. 28 random$.tw. 29 placebo$.tw. 30 adj ).tw 31 sham.tw. 32 or/2431 33 23 and 32
Q: Which Will Work Better For My Painful Arthritic Joints Heat Or Cold
A: Applying heat or cold to a painful area is a simple, inexpensive method for relieving pain. Cold reduces swelling and numbs the area. Heat loosens up muscles, increases flexibility and increases circulation. For an acute injury, such as a pulled muscle or injured tendon, the usual recommendation is to start by applying ice to reduce inflammation and dull pain. Once inflammation has gone down, heat can be used to ease stiffness.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
For a chronic pain condition, such as osteoarthritis, heat seems to work best. However, some people find that cold also helps to dull the pain.
So whats the answer? Try them both and use whichever works best for you.
Exercise is an important part of treatment for osteoarthritis. Heat and cold can also be used to make exercising a little easier. Try using heat before exercise to loosen up muscles and cold afterwards to minimize any achiness.
For heat, soak in a warm bath, hot tub or whirlpool for about 20 minutes. Or take a warm shower. Dress warmly afterwards to prolong the benefit. A heating pad is another good way to warm up an area. You can also buy moist heat pads. Or, heat a damp washcloth in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Test it to make sure its not too hot. Wrap it in a dry towel and apply it to the painful area.
Don’t Miss: Is Banana Good For Rheumatoid Arthritis
My Dad Says He Loves Icecream And I Say So You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis A Must Prevent Diet For Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
November 21, 2010 in Arthritis diet, Rheumatoid Arthritis
Icecream facts and effect on arthritis
Like all people in their 60s, my dad also loves Ice cream. Chocolate, strawberry and mango are his favorite flavor which he eats regularly since his late 30s but he is also suffering from initial arthritis since his early 40s. He has now severe pain in neck and lower back because of rheumatoid arthritis, he is also struggling with knee joint arthritis pain.
Is this a similar case with your near and dear one, please check that they are not eating food stuff like Ice cream, my dad has suffered a lot and I dont want anyone to suffer from arthritis pain. I am trying my dad to make him understand that ice cream is not good for his health and his arthritis symptoms reflect that clearly. Ice cream is a the actual cause behind his initial symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis.
Ice creams can be classified into natural Ice cream and conventional Ice cream. There is a fine between a healthy and harmful ice cream which can be explained as
Natural Ice cream is made up of milk and natural pulp of fruits like strawberry, cherry, mango, banana, grapes, various fruit juice and other organic ingredients. So far natural ice cream looks good, but the figures tells that this ice cream contains high fat ratio and sugar which is not good for arthritis patients.
So, please try to avoid ice cream and make ice a part rheumatoid arthritis prevention not a cause.
content of ice cream
Can Hot Baths Or Spas Help Arthritis Pain
Many people with arthritis find relief from pain and stiffness with hot baths or spas. The moist heat increases muscle relaxation, boosts blood supply to the site of pain, and relieves rigidity and spasms in the muscles. But avoid hot tubs or spas if you have high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you are pregnant.
Recommended Reading: What To Eat To Avoid Rheumatoid Arthritis
How To Get Rid Of Arthritis In Fingers
Arthritis of the fingers can be quite uncomfortable, causing symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. These symptoms make hand motions like grasping and pinching difficult, which restricts a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks. Osteoarthritis and;rheumatoid arthritis ;are the two types of arthritis that most commonly affect the finger joints. Depending on which type of arthritis affects your finger joints, you may experience additional symptoms.
Thankfully, numerous remedies can help alleviate the discomfort from arthritis of the fingers, from hand exercises to help strengthen your fingers to over-the-counter and prescription pain medications and surgical treatments.
Generally Heat Applications Work Best Early In The Day
Use this as a jump-start for stiff joints. Icing is used at the end of the day to minimize any inflammation sparked by your days activities. If you have any questions about hot and cold treatments, talk with your doctor. At Summit, our teams of physicians and healthcare professionals can manage symptoms through a variety of conservative treatments designed to restore mobility, reduce pain, and protect the lifestyle you love.
Don’t Miss: What Does The Rash From Psoriatic Arthritis Look Like
Ice Can Help With Inflammation
If your dog has had surgery or suffered from physical trauma, the injured area will be inflamed due to increased blood flow. The inflammation causes redness and swelling.
Swelling can be very painful for your dog and can lead to delayed wound healing and restricted motion. Cold temperatures make the blood vessels constrict, which limits the blood flow to the specific area and decreases the swelling.
When ice is combined with compression, it can significantly decrease swelling. Cold temperatures also numb the area where you apply it, so your dog will feel less pain.
Pain From Sciatica Can Range From Mild To Intense
Dear Mayo Clinic:
Ive had sciatica on-and-off for weeks, but for the past few days it has been so bad that Im uncomfortable all of the time. It feels best when walking, but when I stop or sit down the pain is almost unbearable. My doctor says physical therapy is the only way to treat it. Are there no other options?
Answer:Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the buttock and down the back of each leg. The lower lumbosacral nerve roots make up the sciatic nerve which is the longest nerve in the body.
Although many people think of sciatica as a condition, it is actually a collection of symptoms. Most people with sciatica will experience pain more in their lower extremity than in their back. The pain will often extend below the knee and into the foot and, in many cases, it is accompanied by numbness or tingling. On occasion, patients will experience muscle weakness in the affected leg.
For some, sciatica pain may be just a mild ache; for others, it can be quite intense. Some people experience a sharp burning sensation and may feel a jolt like an electric shock. Often, the pain intensifies when sitting for long periods. Some patients lose bladder or bowel control, a sign of cauda equina syndrome, which is rare but serious and requires immediate medical care. See your doctor immediately if your sciatica is accompanied by these symptoms.
Recommended Reading: What Are Usually The First Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Use Cold First And Then Apply Heat For Acute Back Pain
When your back pain is acute and/or occurs due to a direct injury, use cold therapy first.2 Lowering the body temperature will help constrict the blood vessels, reduce swelling, decrease inflammation, and cause a numbing effect.1,3
See Ice Packs for Back Pain Relief
Once the inflammation has subsided, use heat therapy. When you apply heat, it improves the flexibility of soft tissues, movement of muscles, and overall functioning of the back. The local warmth stimulates blood circulation in your lower back, which in turn brings healing nutrients to the injured tissues.
It is also advised to continue using heat therapy intermittently for several hours or days in order to improve tissue healing and prevent recurrence of pain.2
When To Be Careful With Cold Therapy
Cold therapy should be used with caution or possibly avoided in the following scenarios:
- Compromised circulation or sensation
- Raynauds Phenomenon is present
- Allergy to cold
- History of frostbite
If one or more of these apply to you, or you are concerned about how to safely apply cold therapy, check with your doctor or physiotherapist.
Its important to keep checking in on the area being treated with cold therapy and stop if there are signs that it is being over-done.
Don’t Miss: How Can You Stop Arthritis In Your Hands
Dos And Donts While Using Heat Or Cold For Arthritis
Are You Looking For Rapid Relief From Sciatica
My good friend, colleague and fellow international sciatica expert, Dean Volk, has a brand new sciatica relief video course available and Im delighted to be an official sponsor!
I can proudly recommend Dean and his course for sciatica sufferers because Ive seen his incredible results first-hand. You can check out his course by .
Don’t Miss: How To Cure Arthritis In Shoulder
Warnings And Precautions While Using Heat Therapy
When using heat therapy, the heat source should be warm, as tolerated, and not hot. As a general rule, heat therapy can be used for 15 to 20 minutes, with breaks in between to avoid skin damage. Overuse of heat therapy may cause burns, scalding, or ulcers. It is a smart idea to place a cloth barrier between your skin and the heat source . It is also advisable to avoid laying directly on the heat source to prevent trapping of additional heat and potentially causing skin damage or permanent changes in skin color.
If you have specific medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, poor circulation, spinal cord injuries, diabetes mellitus, and/or rheumatoid arthritis, it is advised to avoid heat therapy. Heat in these conditions may cause excessive burns, skin ulceration, and/or increased inflammation.3
What Is A Freeze Therapy Session Like
If youve never experienced cryotherapy before, its difficult to imagine what a session is like.
Cryotherapy arthritis treatments take place in a specialized padded chamber that fills with cold air. The air isnt normal room airits liquid nitrogen that turns into a gas. The liquid nitrogen never sprays onto your skin directly, but instead gently fills the chamber, dropping the temperature far below freezing almost instantly.
If youre familiar with ice baths, you might expect a cryotherapy session to be painfulbut that isnt the case. Not only are traditional ice baths uncomfortable overall, but keeping your skin in direct contact with ice can also cause damage to skin cells, resulting in burning pain. Because it uses dry hyper-cooled air instead of liquid, a cryotherapy chamber can get down to as low as -240 degrees F without causing harm.
Even though youll only spend a total of 2-3 minutes inside the chamber, the effects will last quite a while. Cryotherapy treatments have a cumulative effect, so you may not notice a huge change after your first time. The more you go, the more improvement youll notice.
Don’t Miss: Are There Tests For Arthritis
Should You Use Ice Or Heat For Joint Pain
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.
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.
You May Like: How To Ease Arthritis Pain In Fingers
Heat Works For Pain Relief Because Of The Actions Mentioned Below
- Increases blood supply to the affected area, resulting in increased flow of nutrients to the area and faster flushing out of wastes or toxins.
- Penetrates cells and tissues, facilitating increased oxygen uptake and enzyme activity and, consequently, tissue healing
- Stimulates sensory receptors to block pain signals to the brain, resulting in instant and effective pain relief
- Specifically in arthritis, it decreases the viscosity of joint fluid, and the less-thick fluid offers better joint lubrication. It also improves the elasticity of adjacent connective tissues
- Provides warmth, which in turn provides a feel-good effect
Just like heat, such as that in sauna, can soothe a troubled mind and nervous system, it also soothes an arthritic joint. Apply for about 15-20 minutes for mild pain and/or stiffness; and about 30 minutes for moderate pain.
How To Apply An Ice Pack:
Place a towel over the area to be iced. Then place the slushy ice pack on top of the towel.; To hold it in place, you could also wrap the bag onto the leg using an ace bandage or a dry towel can be placed over the ice pack. You could also wrap the ice pack in a towel or in a pillowcase.
IMPORTANT: The ice pack should NEVER be applied directly to an animals skin.
Do not leave your animal unattended while being iced.
Do not leave the ice pack in place for longer than 20 minutes.
- Never apply an ice pack directly to an animals skin
- Do not leave ice packs on for longer than 20 minutes
- You can apply ice packs for 15-20 minutes following exercise to decrease pain
Links and Resources
Also Check: Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes
When To Use Heat To Treat Arthritis Pain
Therapeutic Heat is more commonly recommended for arthritis pain because it relaxes tendons and ligaments thereby increasing flexibility and decreasing pain. Heat also increases blood flow and improves joint range of motion.
So why the debate over hot or cold? Dr. Sperber says that for acute injuries just about everyone recommends ice, but for chronic conditions, like arthritis, both cold and heat can help reduce inflammation, so it may come down to whichever feels better to you.
As for how heat should be used, there are competing problems. The trick is to get enough heat into the tissue, for long enough, without burning your skin. For example, hands heat up fairly easily because the tissue is not deep, but for deep tissue pain, in the hip for instance, you may need to apply a lower temperature for a longer time. There are specific products that address these issues and each product comes with recommended time usage guidelines.
Most Popular Cold Therapy Products:
- Frozen Gel Cold Packs. Save your frozen peas and use a pliable, reusable ice pack instead. ColPaC makes them in lots of sizes and shapes. Keep ice packs in the freezer and theyll be ready whenever you have a flare-up. Remember to use layers of dry terry toweling between the cold pack and your skin.
- Biofreeze. This topical pain reliever is highly recommended for temporary relief of arthritis, tendonitis and fybromyalgia. You can order it in a tube, roll-on, spray or gel pump.
Most Popular Hot Therapy Products