Arthritis is the inflammation of bone joints. It is caused due to cartilage disorder. The function of cartilage is to protect your joints and to make it work smoothly. It acts as shock absorber on bone joints when you are doing any work like jumping and walking. Malfunction of cartilage causing rubbing of bone, which results in inflammation and pain.
Hot and cold therapies are widely used for arthritis treatment. If you are not sure of the right therapy, get advice from your physician. Using a wrong therapy may worsen the situation further.
Heat has a property of relaxing, soothing and comforting your sore and stiff muscles. In addition, it relieves the pain in the joints that are caused by arthritis. Heat stimulates blood circulation and improves flow of blood. It also aids in reducing stress and stiffness of joints.
Cool therapy is used to reduce the burning sensation in the joints caused by arthritis. Keep an ice pack or ice bag and wrap on the affected area.
This therapy cures the inflammation and numbs the burning sensation of the joints. Cold therapy can also be used when joints are swollen. Applying cold pack reduces the swelling and joint pain.
Art of Choosing the Therapy
The success of this therapy depends on your knowledge of which therapy to use based on the nature of your problem. Hot therapy and cold therapy have their own properties. Hot therapy relaxes your muscles. Cold therapy numbs the joint pain and reduces inflammation. Applying heat therapy on a joint that is red and burning would be a wrong choice. Similarly do not apply cold to stiff and swollen joints.
Guidelines for Hot Therapy
The following instructions should be followed strictly for using heat therapy.
1. The temperature should be bearable and not too high. Too much of heat may cause damage to your skin leading to skin burns.
2. A cotton towel or cloth should be kept between the heat source and your skin.
3. Do not perform heat therapy for more than 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Never apply heat on a injured skin at any cost.
Guidelines for Cold Therapy
Follow the below guidelines for cold therapy.
1. Use a cold pack or ice bag for applying cold therapy.
2. Cold therapy is not advisable if you are having circulatory problems.
3. Don’t apply cold for more than 20 minutes.
4. Stop the treatment immediately when your skin becomes extremely cold, blistered, numb and red in colour.
Hot Therapy Products
Whirlpool spa is a popular heat therapy product. The main advantage of this product is its portability and affordability. It just takes 10-15 minutes for assembling the product.
Commonly used heat therapy product is Infrared heat. The speciality is, it penetrates deep into the joints and relieves pain. Light relief therapy is used to keep the temperature of the tissues under control.
Paraffin bath is yet another heat therapy. You can sink your affected area in melted paraffin wax. When the hands or legs are immersed, the heat is applied on the deep into the joints and reduces pain much faster.
Cold Therapy Products
Widely used products for cold therapy are Biofreeze and Frozen gel packs. Gel cold packs are flexible and reusable packs that are available in different forms and sizes. They should always be placed in a freezer.
Biofreeze are usually prescribed for temporary pain relief. Both these products should not be kept directly on the skin, as they damage the skin. You can switch over between cold and hot therapy for better results.