If you're suffering from osteoarthritis joint pain, you might be tempted to try every possible remedy out there. Still, it's important to remember that not all options are effective for everyone. When treating this annoying condition, a beneficial strategy is heat therapy. And the best way to use it? Just take a hot bath or shower each night and let the warmth soothe your aching joints. You can even place a cold pack on your knee afterward for relief.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is by far the most frequent kind of Arthritis. It affects almost 27 million Americans. This degenerative joint condition is defined by a loss of cartilage, the cartilage that cushions the edges of your bones. Cartilage helps joints move with ease. Osteoarthritis generally affects these areas:
Learn about ways you can ease Osteoarthritis discomfort with treatment and lifestyle adjustments.
How to treat Osteoarthritis?
There are several options available when it comes to treating arthritic joint pain. However, there is a right and wrong way of using one's choice. At the same time, Dr. Kirt Kimball advises that you do not use heat or cold too much or too little, as this might be damaging. Instead, warm up your joints — don't cook them.
Fields add: Herbal heating pads may be the best solution for most people. Ten minutes of heat is sufficient to retain warmth in an affected area; A 10 min heat pad typically gives them enough comfort for the day's errands or activities. If not, a series of 10 minutes on/ 10 minutes off can help relax tight or tender areas.
Heat and Cold Therapy for osteoarthritis pain
Are there any things you could do about the stiffness and pain of Osteoarthritis? You may have heard that using cold or heat therapy can aid in relieving pain, and you're considering whether it's worthwhile to give these a go. Yes, it is.
A lot of arthritis doctors recommend heating and cold therapies to reduce the inflammation and reduce stiffness and pain that come with Osteoarthritis. It could take a bit of "trial and error" to determine which method will work best to ease your discomfort. If you persevere, you could come up with the ideal combination of ice and hot packs to provide the greatest relief from discomfort and make it easier to manage Osteoarthritis. If pain persists, make sure to consult your physician.
How Does Heat and Cold Help Osteoarthritis Pain?
The effects of heat or cold Therapy stimulate your body's healing power. For instance, it dilates blood vessels, increases blood circulation, and decreases muscle spasms. Furthermore, it affects the feeling of pain. It is possible to use dry heat like heating pads, lamps for heating, moist heat such as warm baths, or heated washcloths.
Cold compresses, on the other hand, reduce swelling by enlarging blood vessels. Although cold compresses may be uncomfortable initially, they can be a great way to numb the pain.
Treating Osteoarthritis With Heat
"Heat can help relieve pain and spasms and is especially good before exercise — it can often increase how far the joint can be moved," says Theodore Fields, MD, director of the Rheumatology Faculty Practice Plan at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
Using heat packs before you work out can loosen up tight muscles, which will make it easier to get into the correct positions during stretching and exercise. It's excellent for pre-exercise, too, as heat can help reduce muscle pain and cramps. That is excellent news if you move your joints a little farther.
Which Types of Heat Therapy Help Osteoarthritis Pain?
You can pick one of the following types of treatment to treat Osteoarthritis pain:
- Belts or heat patches that are disposable and are available at many drugstores
- Swimming pool heated pool
- Hot packs (some are heated in microwaves)
- moist heating pad
- A therapeutic mixture of paraffin with mineral oils
- warm bath
- Warm shower
- Hot tub or warm whirlpool
- Warm, moist cloth or towel
You can also take a Sacksythyme hot therapy relief heating pad to ensure safety and let the warmth strike the affected area. The constant warmth emitted to the joint that is arthritic or at the site of pain helps keep pain to a minimum and allows it to move more quickly.
Hot baths, showers, and pools
Many people who have Arthritis get relief from stiffness and pain by taking hot baths or spas. The warm, moist temperature improves muscle relaxation, increases blood flow to the pain location, and eases stiffness and spasms within the muscles. However, it is best not to spend 10 mins in an outdoor hot tub if you suffer from high blood pressure or coronary disease or are expecting.
Warm baths or heated pools are excellent choices for a patient with Osteoarthritis. As long as a step ladder is available, sliding into the water doesn't require rising to your feet first, and bathing is more accessible. On the other hand, and contrary to popular belief, taking a shower can be more complicated; you have to balance yourself (by holding on to the wall), and you have to ensure that there's a safety rail within reach - otherwise, who wants to fall while they're already on their knees battling aches?
Commercially-available heating pads can be effective. "I've advised several patients to try a heating pad," says Geriatrics and Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Samuel Fields.
Doctors and health experts agree that Arthritis can be hazardous to your health. But according to Robin K. Dore, MD, a rheumatologist and clinical professor of medicine at UCLA, you can do things to ease the symptoms of this condition. "Be careful not to apply heat directly to the skin but have a towel wrapped around the heating pad," says Dr. Dore, "and don't fall asleep on top of it because you could burn yourself."
"Doctors recommend paraffin treatments for their patients incredibly often because they can help ease the pain in hands and feet that stem from several different causes," states Dr. Dore. "Do-it-yourself home paraffin wax kits are available, and generally, these costs vary depending on if you purchase them at a health or beauty supply store; it is cheaper when purchased at a beauty supply store than buying one from a medical supplier."
Store-bought patches, belts, packs, and wraps
Many people prefer self-adhesive options when it comes to cold Therapy. For example, Salonpas and ThermaCare patches are popular since they adhere directly to the skin. However, these treatments tend to be more expensive than reusable options like reusable wrap packages that can be inserted into the freezer and worn outside of the refrigerator or freezer.
According to a study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, people with Arthritis can relieve joint pain by placing a hot water bottle on their sore joints — but only if it is warm enough. "If brought to a warm but comfortable temperature, these can be helpful," said lead author Dr. Christopher J. Fields. "But they do lose their heat fairly soon."
What Temperature Is Best When Using Heat Therapy for Osteoarthritis?
If you use moist heating therapy, ensure the temperature isn't so extreme that it burns the body. Choose a comfortable temperature for you regardless of whether you use a warm bath, hot water bottle, or heating pad.
You also have to allow the system time to get going. Use the moist heat application for at least 15 minutes before exercising. Then, you can use it again after the exercise. It is also possible to use moist heat anytime you need additional relief from Osteoarthritis.
Does Cold Therapy Help Osteoarthritis Pain?
Yes. cold packs can numb the region and decrease swelling as well as swelling. cold packs are especially beneficial for joint discomfort caused by a flare of Osteoarthritis. Try using cold therapy packs on your back or in painful areas during and after exercising. The cooling effect is superficial, reduces muscle spasms, and increases the threshold for feeling pain. You can also create instant cold packs using freezer bags of vegetables.
Some people prefer cold Therapy over damp heat to ease Osteoarthritis pain. Others claim the best relief when they alternate their sessions using humid heat and ice. You can try experimenting with moist heat and cold therapy and decide on the option to provide the best relief while requiring the least effort or expense.
How Often Should I Use Heat or Cold Therapy for osteoarthritis Pain?
Use warm, moist heat or cold pack daily to provide your best relief from stiffness and pain.
Based on the American College of Rheumatology, 5 to 10 minutes of cold therapy applied to an area that is painful during the first 24 hours after discomfort can help relieve it. The same is true for heat, which reduces muscle tension. It is recommended to use heat to treat pain that lasts more than 48 hours.
Osteoarthritis can be a difficult condition because it can affect mobility.
There are many treatment options to choose from. Heat and cold Therapy, weight loss, and exercise are also effective in battling Osteoarthritis. Consult your physician, and be sure to keep yourself active and informed.
"This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your physician to determine a treatment plan that is right for you."