Friday, June 21, 2024

What Is Better For Arthritis Hot Or Cold

Causes Of Knee Arthritis

Hot Or Cold?: Tips On Temperatures In Joint Pain Management With Tim from Surrey Physio

Knowing the risk factors may help prevent arthritis pain, though not all are avoidable. One of the most common reasons for an increase in the prevalence of knee arthritis is the increase in the aging population.

Some individuals are genetically more vulnerable to the condition. Females are also at higher risk of painful knee conditions.

Among the preventable risk factors are obesity, trauma, muscle weakness, frequent sprains and strains, mechanical stress on the joints, wrong posture while working, too much kneeling and squatting.

When To Seek Treatment For Your Arthritis

Arthritis doesnt have to spell the end of an active life. If you are experiencing worrisome symptoms or persistent pain, the renowned arthritis specialists at Summit Orthopedics can help. We work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan. If nonsurgical treatments fail to support your lifestyle goals, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons will consult with you and discuss appropriate surgical options. Summit is home to innovative joint replacement options. Our Vadnais Heights Surgery Center is one of only two surgery centers nationally to receive The Joint Commissions Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.

Start your journey to healthier joints. Find your arthritis expert, request an appointment online, or call us at to schedule a consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

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Using Both Heat And Ice

In some situations, applying both ice and heat to your joint may be helpful. Called contrast therapy, this treatment involves alternating between icing and heating a joint. While this option has traditionally been utilized after exercise or participating in a sporting event to aid in recovery, it may be helpful for more chronic conditions as well. This style of treatment can be performed using hot and cold packs or by alternately submerging the knee in hot and cold water.

While individuals who received contrast therapy subjectively reported less overall soreness and muscular fatigue, the research is still mixed. The current evidence is lacking on whether this treatment is helpful in managing the pain associated with a knee injury or in reducing your inflammation levels.

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Stay Active And Hydrated

Staying active will help to keep your blood flowing. Aim to consume less salt salt makes your body retain extra water, while drinking more water can dilute salt levels. To ease the swelling, raise your feet or put a pillow under your ankles while youre in bed.

Professor Walker-Bone recommends using ice packs or having cool showers. Adjust the temperature of the water to suit your personal preference, she says. If you use ice, remember to wrap it in a tea towel first so it doesnt burn your skin. Cooling gels and sprays may also help. If youre sweating more than usual, this can make you dehydrated, so keep topping up your fluid levels with regular drinks.

If you have gout, its particularly important to avoid getting dehydrated, as this can trigger an attack. Read our managing gout top tips.

Cold Treatment For Arthritis

Hot vs. Cold Therapy for Joint Pain

Using Cold treatment is best for acute pain it restricts blood vessels, slowing the blood circulation and reducing the swelling near the pain site. It also numbs your nerve endings dulling the pain to significant levels.

Cold packs numb the sore area around the joints and reduce inflammation and swelling. Ice packs are especially recommended for joint pain due to an arthritis flare.

Many sprays are available in the market to provide superficial cooling when applied on joints. This diminishes muscle spasms and elevates the threshold for pain.

You can use cold treatment for arthritis by using any of the following ways:

  • Wrap a bag of ice and apply on the joints for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time.
  • You can try a store-bought gel cold pack.
  • You can submerge your joints in a container filled with ice and water.
  • A clinical therapy combining cold and compression has also been helpful in many cases.
  • When applying cold treatments, be careful that it is not too cold to cause long numbness in the joints. Ice treatment when applied carefully can result in enormous reliefs in arthritis impacted joints.

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    Arthritis Pain: Hot Or Cold Therapy

    The type of arthritis pain you are experiencing, or the timing of the pain, determines whether to use heat therapy or cold therapy. You may have to try several things to see what works. Are you having acute pain or is it more of a lingering ache? Is the pain in your hand, or deep in your hip? Here are some quick guidelines to help you decide when to use heat and when to use cold when treating arthritis pain.

    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.

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    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.

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    Water As Heat Therapy

    Heat therapy or cold therapy? Hot water bag or ice pack? What works in arthritis?

    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.

    Hot Shower

    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.

    Warm Bath

    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.

    Contrast Baths

    • Overwhelmingly clients with arthritis experience decreased achy pain and stiffness in their hands after wearing resting hand splints for sleeping.

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    When To Not Use Heat Or Cold For Your Lower Back

    There are some conditions and situations that should not be treated with heat or cold therapy. For example:

    • These therapies must not be used on open wounds, bleeds, or when there is any fluid oozing out of the painful region.
    • If you have certain chronic 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.1

    It is also advisable to avoid laying directly on the heat source due to the risk of burns, skin damage, or permanent changes in skin color. A protective barrier such as a cloth or towel may be used between your skin and the source of heat.

    In general, many people feel heat therapy works better to relieve their lower back pain compared to cold. Also, taking oral pain-relieving drugs while using these therapies may have an added effect on the overall pain relief.2

    Heat Or Ice Which Is Best For An Older Dog

    Knowing what is best for your older dog when it comes to treatment of their ailments and making them more comfortable can change as your dog gets older. If your dog is in pain or has an injury, the difference between using heat or ice can be the difference in the way they heal and the quality of their life.

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    Safety Guidelines For Heat Therapy

    To prevent burns, do not use heat for excessive lengths of time, and be careful to frequently check skin for redness while applying heat. If the heat starts to feel uncomfortable, discontinue immediately: The last thing you want to do is trigger a psoriatic flare by injuring your skin.

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    Using Heat Or Cold Remedies For Arthritis

    Aches, injuries and pains, oh my! It

    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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    Why Heat And Cold Therapy Arent Enough On Their Own

    Keep in mind that while heat and cold therapies may be good for temporary relief, they dont address the underlying psoriatic arthritis causes. Psoriatic arthritis is a progressive disease that can lead to permanent injury to joints.

    Theres a possibility of damage going on underneath the aches and pains,” Dr. Bergman cautions. Make sure youre getting treated properly. That means seeing someone who knows what theyre doing: a specialist in particular, a rheumatologist. Thats the place to start.

    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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    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.

    Hot Vs Cold Therapy For Arthritis: Which Is Better

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

    You can use heat or cold to manage arthritis pain. Each has its own pros and cons in different circumstances, so its best to use whichever pain treatment method provides the most effective relief for how you feel at the time:

    • Cold therapy.Cryotherapy for arthritis works better for acute pain and swelling due to its numbing effect, while also bringing down inflammation
    • Heat therapy. This arthritis care technique provides more relief if your muscles are tired or achy. For example, if youve been out walking and arthritis symptoms start to become evident without causing painful swelling, applying heat therapy may be better a better way to soothe your muscles.

    Keeping both hot and cold therapy for arthritis in your arsenal is a good idea. By using heat or ice for arthritis symptoms as and when you need them, you can guide your body to a lifestyle thats more comfortable and less disruptive.

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    Tips On Using Heat Therapy For Ra

    • Use safe heat sources, including hot towels, hot tubs, showers, or baths, hot water bottles, microwaveable hot pads, and electric heating pads.
    • To prevent burns, do not use heat for excessive lengths of time .
    • When using heating pads or hot water bottles, place a towel or cloth on your skin first, to prevent direct contact with the heat source.
    • Be careful to check your skin for redness often while applying heat, and remove the heat source if redness occurs.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a paraffin bath device.

    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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    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.

    What Is Heat Therapy

    Arthritis In Knee

    Heat therapy is used to relax and soothe muscle or joint pain and stiffness, chronic pain, and reduce muscle spasms.

    Blood vessels dilate and increase blood flow to the area being heated, delivering needed nutrients and oxygen while aiding in the removal of cell waste and promoting healing.

    There are two different types of heat therapy: dry heat and moist heat.

    Both types of heat therapy should aim for warm as the ideal temperature instead of hot.

    • Dry heat includes saunas, or items like dry heating packs, hot water bottles, gel packs, and electric heating pads which are best for local or small areas of pain
    • Moist heat includes items like steamed towels, damp clay packs used in physiotherapy clinics and hospitals, or hot baths
    • Moist heat is preferred over dry heat, since it penetrates deeper to reach muscles, ligaments, and joints

    Therapeutic heat, such as from an ultrasound, is often used in the chronic phase of an injury. It is also used for relief from arthritis, muscle spasms, menstrual cramps, tendinitis, and more.

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