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 of your 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 an ice pack on your knee afterwards for added relief.
“Heat can help in relieving pain and spasm and is especially good before exercise — it can often increase how far can the joint 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 exercising. It's excellent for pre-exercise, too, as heat can help reduce muscle pain and spasms. That is excellent news if you try to move your joints a little farther.
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. Warm-up your joints — don't cook them.
Fields add: Herbal heating pads may prove to 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 be pretty helpful for relaxing areas that are tight or tender.
Treating Osteoarthritis With Heat
Hot baths, showers, and pools
Warm baths or heated pools are excellent choices for a patient who suffers from Osteoarthritis. As long as there's a step ladder available, sliding into the water doesn't require rising to your feet first, and bathing is made more accessible. 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, there are things you can do 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. 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 living 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."
"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."