Arthritis Relief: Hot & Cold Treatments

Trying to cope with arthritis pain is never easy, but there are some remedies that can help you ease that dull ache in your joints.

Using both hot and cold treatments can help, but doctors recommend different types of treatments for different situations. Find out whether you need a cold compress or a hot shower.

What are the benefits of using hot and cold treatments?

Its all about testing the waters and seeing which treatment works best for you, but hot and cold therapies help your body heal when its feeling its worst. WebMD says that heat helps with dilating blood vessels, stimulating blood circulation, and reducing muscle spasms. You can use heating pads, heat lamps, warm baths, or a simple heated wash cloth to provide the warmth you need.

For cold treatments, use cold packs or plain old ice. Placing a cold compress on your aching joints will constrict the blood vessels, which helps to numb intense pain.

What are the best practices?

Its always important to be careful with heating treatments, because you dont want to make something so hot that you burn yourself. WebMD says its important to find the temperature that is most comfortable for your body, whether its hot or cold. The types of therapies that best help arthritis pain are: Disposable heat patches, heated swimming pools, hot packs, moist heating pads, and warm baths and showers.

If your pain is accompanied by swelling or redness, a cold compress may be the best option, because it can reduce the inflammation. Apply the compress for at least 20 minutes for best results.

For both heating or cooling therapies, WebMD recommends repeating the treatment at least two times a day. And always remember to protect your skin from direct contact with the hot or cold compress.

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