Should You be Using Ice or Heat for Joint Pain?
Ever find yourself wondering if which therapy will work best for you and your achy joints? You’ve probably received varying and maybe even contradictory advice on how to manage your arthritis or joint pain at home.
Hot and cold therapy is probably two of the most common joint pain treatments out there and figuring out when you should use each of them can be confusing at times. Here’s is how to know whether to use ice or heat therapy for your joint pain.
Types of Joint Pain
The appropriate treatment for pain normally depends on its source. Joint pain may be the result of:
- An injury, such as a sprain, strain, or fracture
- A viral infection
Arthritis, which is one of the most common reasons for joint pain and is known to encompass more than 100 conditions. Among the most typical forms are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy joint tissue and causes inflammation.
- Osteoarthritis which is the deterioration of the cartilage that protects bones and joints.
- Psoriatic arthritis typically results in internal and external inflammation.
- Septic arthritis – a joint infection
- Gout – a condition in which acid builds up in a joint and causes inflammation.
Here is what you need to know on how to treat joint pain
Heat increases blood flow to an affected area, which promotes healing and relaxes muscle spasms. Cold restricts blood flow, reducing swelling and inflammation. It also numbs pain around the affected area.
Generally speaking, ice is better for inflammatory pain. (Gout, Psoriatic arthritis, Rheumatoid).To know if your joint is inflamed look to see if it is red, swollen, or if it seems warm to touch. Relieve inflamed joints by applying a gel pack wrapped in a towel to the injured area.
For joint pain that is not caused by inflammation such as osteoarthritis try heat for relief. The Arthritis Foundation recommends placing a moist heating pad wrapped in a layer of cloth on the affected joint or soaking it in a warm bath. Heat treatments also can be effective for rheumatoid arthritis when you’re not having a flare-up.
Finding Treatment for Severe Joint Pain
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