Most of us have used ice packs and heating pads to treat a pulled or inflexible muscle. But did you know that the same therapy can do a swell job to treat chronic arthritis pain? The heat and cold therapy is one of the most common therapies recommended to elevate arthritis related pain and bruising.
Both the heat and cold therapy are used to address different problems so it is vital to identify the type and source of pain before you start the therapy. The following comprehensive guide will help you better understand the usage of heat and cold therapy for treating arthritis pain.
Heat and Cold Therapy for Treating Arthritis Pain
Some people reach for a cup of steaming hot tea or coffee or a hot bowl of hearty soup after an exhausting day. While other find comfort by cuddling in a cozy blanket or taking a hot bath. You may have never realized but the heat works as a charm to relieve stress. Similarly, heat therapy helps to calm the nerves and stimulate the blood flow to reduce the pain caused by muscle spasm.
Arthritis affected muscles get stiffed and weaken due to inflammation in the cartilage of the joints and heat therapy has been proven very effective to treat inflammation and soothe deteriorated muscles and joints. When you apply a dry or wet heat source on the arthritis affected area the heat transfers in the vanes and dilute the blood which relaxes the stiffed muscles.
If arthritis pain is making you feel like your joints are on fire look no further than your own refrigerator for relief. Contrary to the heat therapy the cold therapy compresses the blood vessels to numb the painful area in order to relieve the pain. If your joints are feeling sore after a round of exercise try to cool it off with a bag of ice or frozen vegetables. However make sure to protect your skin with a layer of thick cloth or paper to prevent it from damaging by extreme cold.
Cold packs comes handy to treat the inflammation related soreness and swelling. Apply an ice pack on swollen joints or muscles for 10-15 minutes and repeat if needed. Take at least 15-20 minutes break between the applications to avoid frozen muscles as it can cause serious injuries.
Making the Right Choice?
Both hot and cold therapies have their advantages but you should be very careful while selecting the one that suits your needs. Always remember to use hot therapy on stiff joints and cold therapy on joints that have flaming sensation or swelling and redness. Doing the opposite can cause skin problems and further joints damage due to over heating or freezing of the already weaken
Setting the Correct Temperature
Whether it’s the ice packs or the heating pads both can make you feel uncomfortable at first which is totally normal. But a heating pad shouldn’t be so hot that it would burn your skin. Likewise,continuous usage of ice packs for more than 15-20 minutes can cause you frozen bites or muscles.
Allow your joints and muscles to come down to normal temperature and rest for 15-20 minutes in between two hot/cold applications. Never sleep on a heating or ice pack and immediately discontinue usage if you feel unbearable chilled or burning sensation.
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