Benefits Of Moist Heat Therapy
- Soothes stiff joints making them more pliable and flexible
- Relaxes muscles, including relieving muscle spasms
- Reduces pain, the warmth can decrease pain signals to the brain
- Improves circulation to the area for healing damaged tissue
- Stimulates the production of joint fluid, warmth plus bending and flexing creates joint fluid that keeps your joints lubricated
- Reduced risk of burns compared to dry heat, but you should still check your skin periodically during use and remove if you have discomfort
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.
Cold Therapy Vs Heat Therapy
To begin, lets examine how to know if ice or heat is best for your dog. The answer, in fact, is quite simple. For dogs suffering from arthritis, heat therapy is best. If your dog has recently had joint surgery, you want to use cold therapy for the first 72 hours after therapy, then switch to heat therapy. The same goes for if your dog has recently suffered an acute injury or performed strenuous exercise.
For the first 72 hours, cold therapy is crucial for reducing inflammation. It works by stimulating constriction of the blood vessels, thereby slowing circulation to the injured area and preventing many of the bad inflammatory mediators from harming tissue. You can perform cold therapy by placing a cold gel pack, ice, or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel to the affected area for ten minutes.
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Best Thermotherapy According To Your Knee Arthritis
Lets clarify something first there are over 100 types of arthritis!
See, the word arthritis only means inflammation of the joint. Its a medical term to say the joint is swollen, but it doesnt tell us why.
Now, these are the most common types of arthritis :
- Osteoarthritis. Due to wear and tear. Ironically, its NOT inflammatory.
- Gout. Here, uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints, causing inflammation.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. An autoimmune disease that affects the joints.
And, the truth is that anyone with these chronic diseases can benefit from cold and hot therapies.
But, research shows one thermotherapy may provide more benefits than the other, depending on the condition:
Is Heat Good For Arthritis
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.
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How Do You Use Ice / Cold As Pain Relief For Your Hip Injury
COLD is used to treat injuries or conditions that are red, hot, inflamed, swollen and suffering from tissue damage . Cold is a natural / organic pain reliever that numbs pain right at the source of your injury. While doing this, the cold also stops cellular break-down and reduces the amount of scar tissue forming .
When cold is applied to a hip injury, soft tissue in the hip will constrict and squeeze on the blood vessels to slow down your blood flow. This in turn clamps down on the amount of fluid leaking into your injured tissue, decreasing swelling. This is why cold is used immediately to treat acute injuries or re-injuries basically, newly damaged soft tissue. The cold slows down your body to reduce the amount of damage happening to soft tissue and decrease the swelling. This cold also has a nice side benefit of numbing nerves in and around your hip, further decreasing your pain.
In the medical world this is something called Vasoconstriction.
Cold can Make Your Soft Tissue Injury Worse How?
When To Use Heat To Help Your Hip
The primary intent of a heat based application is to increase blood flow circulation and, as such, stimulate the bodys 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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Cochrane Review: Thermotherapy Versus Cryotherapy
A Cochrane Review assessed three randomized, controlled clinical trials involving 179 patients with knee osteoarthritis. Patients were allowed to continue taking their medications but also used hot, cold, or ice packs and towels, with or without massage. They were compared to a control group receiving no treatment. Reviewers looked for outcomes of pain relief, reduction of edema/swelling, and improvement of knee flexion , range of motion, and function. Here are the results of the Cochrane Review:
- The first of the three studies revealed that massaging with ice for 20 minutes a day, five days a week, for two weeks improved muscle strength in the leg, improved range of motion in the knee, and resulted in less time needed to walk 50 feet, compared to the control group.
- The second study showed that knee osteoarthritis patients using ice packs for three days a week for three weeks had no significant improvement in pain compared to patients receiving no treatment.
- The third study indicated that cold packs applied to the knee for 20 minutes, ten times, resulted in decreased swelling compared to the control group who received no treatment. Hot packs used for the same amount of time had the same effect on swelling as the control group who received no treatment.
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Does Cold Therapy Help Arthritis Pain
Yes. Cold packs numb the sore area and reduce inflammation and swelling. Ice packs are especially good for joint pain caused by an arthritis flare. You might also try using a local spray such as fluoromethane on your back or painful area before and after exercise. This superficial cooling decreases muscle spasms and increases the threshold for pain. Or you can make instant cold packs from frozen bags of vegetables.
Some patients prefer cold therapy to moist heat for arthritis pain, while others tell of having the best relief when they alternate the sessions with moist heat and ice. You can experiment with moist heat and ice therapy and then select the method that gives the best relief with the least trouble or expense.
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Is The Summer Heat Affecting Your Arthritis
For those of us living above the equator, summer is finally here and the heat & humidity seems to be getting worse. Weather experts predict that 2015 could be the hottest year on record with heat waves are already creating havoc in places like Europe & Asia. For those suffering from arthritis or chronic joint pain, the summer weather can be unbearable. Our joints contain sensory nerves that continuously respond to the changing weather. Temperature and humidity can alter the level of fluid that fills your joints resulting in inflammation and pain and it can also affect the stiffness or laxity in your tendons, muscles and ligaments.
Here are some tips on how to deal with the heat:
Heat & Humidity can be a nuisance, but dont let it stop you from enjoying the summer season!
We would love to hear from you! How do you keep your arthritis symptoms at bay and stay cool in the summer? Any advice for others?
Use Mineral Oils And Rubber Gloves
If PsA affects your hands, try this simple method. First, rub mineral oil on your hands. When youre ready, place them in a pair of rubber gloves and run warm water over them. You can do this for about 5 to 10 minutes.
You can use cold therapy at home during flares to soothe inflammation. Here are a few methods you might find helpful.
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Sip A Mug Of Golden Milk
Nothing feels as good as a hot drink on a cold day and golden milk isnt just comforting the turmeric spice that gives the beverage its characteristic golden color has been shown to reduce arthritis pain, Dr. Martin says. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. You can take it as a supplement but on chilly days, make it into golden milk, a traditional hot Indian drink made from any type of milk, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, and a dash of maple syrup. Turmeric showed measurable improvements in arthritis symptoms in a meta-analysis published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.
Are You Weather Sensitive
Some people are more sensitive to weather than others. So you may feel more stiff and achy in the cold more than your neighbor. That doesnt either of you is wrong, it just means that we dont perceive things the same.
A 2014 study of people with osteoarthritis published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders asked participants if and how weather influenced their pain. Of the 712 people who answered the survey, 469 said they were weather sensitive. It turns out that weather-sensitive people with OA experience more joint pain overall than their non-weather-sensitive counterparts.
A 2011 article published in European Journal of Pain found similar results in people with rheumatoid arthritis . The researchers looked at nine previously published studies of people with RA and concluded pain in some individuals is more affected by the weather than in others, and that patients react in different ways to the weather.
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Use Heat And Cold To Ease Arthritic Joints
When arthritic joints become stiff or painful, we explain how and when to use the application of heat and cold for arthritis for simple, effective relief.
Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in our country. More than 50 million Americans are affected by this disease. This number that represents one out of every five adults and approximately 300,000 children. People of all ages and races are vulnerable to this joint-disabling condition. It is most common among women, and our chance of developing arthritis increases as we age.
Because there is currently no cure for arthritis, many people are under the impression that there is nothing they can do to manage their symptoms. In fact, medicine offers many helpful treatments for arthritis. Some therapies help with pain, and others improve the function of affected joints. In some cases, early treatments can actually slow the progress of the disease. Below we demonstrate how best to use heat and cold for arthritis.
How Can Moist Heat Therapy Help My Dog
Let me be clear: Moist heat therapy is one of the best, easiest, and most underutilized therapeutic modalities you can use to ease your dogs joint pain and promote healing. Moist heat is recommended over dry heat due to the fact that the moisture allows the heat to penetrate deeper into tissue. Remember, heat therapy is NOT to be used until 72 hours after surgery or injury.
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Why Use Moist Heat For Hand Pain And Stiffness
The warmth from heat therapy can decrease muscle spasms and increase range of motion.
Heat And Ice Treatments
Some people with cervical spondylosis benefit from using heat or ice for their neck pain and discomfort.
Moist heat is used to decrease pain, improve circulation, and relax tight muscles around your neck. Heat can be applied in various ways, including:
- Soaking in a hot shower
- Using a hydrocollator moist hot pack
- Placing warm compresses on your neck
- Using an electric heating pad
When using heat, watch out for burns on your skin. Look for excessive redness, skin irritation, or skin discoloration. Heat should be applied for no more than 15 minutes, several times a day. If pain or redness occurs, discontinue use.
Ice may be used for acute neck pain or discomfort, as it is considered an anti-inflammatory treatment that decreases pain and swelling by limited blood flow to the body part being treated. Ice may be applied with an ice pack, ice bag, or cold compress.
You can apply ice to your neck for 15 minutes several times each day. Ice may cause frost burns. Use ice with a towel, facecloth, or other layer between the ice and the skin to avoid skin damage. Discontinue use if you feel increased pain or note excessive redness and skin irritation.
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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Cold Weather Effects On Arthritis
People with arthritis say that the warmer weather is more lenient to their symptoms as opposed to the cold weather.
- Changes In Humidity during the cold weather, there is a lot of damage done to the bone cells and cartilage and this causes cold weather arthritis symptoms to flare up. Also, cold weather increases sensitivity to joints. This intensifies the pain associated with arthritis.
- Pain Sensitivityâ in general, your body becomes more sensitive during the cold season because of nerve stimulation. This means that people with arthritis have more sensitive and tender joints during the cold season. The flow of blood also increases in the cold season. This cause more blood to collect in the joints affected by arthritis and this causes swelling and redness.
- Reduction In Physical Activities physical activity matters a lot. In warmer seasons, most people are active but the activity decreases as temperatures drop. It becomes hard for one to exercise and keep active in cold seasons. Most people with arthritis suffer a flare-up of the symptoms because they are not as active in cold season as they are in warmer seasons. This stiffens their joints and causes the pain to worsen when they move.
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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.