Arthritis Joint Pain Relief: Heat and Cold Therapies
Heat and cold can both be used to reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Both therapies come in different forms, and the patient and doctor can determine which form works best. Studies have shown heat and cold therapies to be equally effective in reducing pain, although they are usually avoided in acute gout.
Heat therapy increases blood flow, tolerance for pain, and flexibility. Heat therapy can involve treatment with paraffin wax, microwaves, ultrasound, or moist heat. Physical therapists are needed to apply paraffin wax, or use microwave or ultrasound therapy, but patients can apply moist heat themselves. Some ways to apply moist heat include placing warm towels or hot packs on the inflamed joint or taking a warm bath or shower.
Cold therapy numbs the nerves around the joint (which reduces pain) and relieves inflammation and muscle spasms. Cold therapy can involve cold packs, ice massage, soaking in cold water, or over-the-counter sprays and ointments that cool the skin and joints.
Joint Pain Relief: Hydrotherapy, Mobilization Therapy, and Relaxation Therapy
Hydrotherapy involves exercising or relaxing in warm water, which helps relax tense muscles and relieve pain. Exercising in a large pool is easier because water takes some weight off painful joints. This type of exercise improves muscle strength and joint movement.
Mobilization therapies include traction (gentle, steady pulling), massage, and manipulation (using the hands to restore normal movement to stiff joints). When done by a trained professional, these methods can help control pain, increase joint motion, and improve muscle and tendon flexibility.
Relaxation therapy helps reduce pain by teaching people various ways to release muscle tension throughout the body. In one method of relaxation therapy, known as progressive relaxation, the patient tightens a muscle group and then slowly releases the tension. Doctors and physical therapists can teach patients progressive relaxation and other relaxation techniques.
Reference: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Arthritis and Joint Pain Relief Helpful Articles:
- Joint Pain: Rheumatic Diseases and Arthritis
- Examples of Rheumatic Diseases
- Rheumatic Diseases – Causes and Diagnosis
- Common Symptoms of Arthritis
- Joint Pain Relief – Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases Treatments
- Joint Pain Relief – Medications
- Natural Joint Pain Relief – Arthritis
- Joint Pain Relief – Natural Supplement
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