How to Relieve Arthritis Pain with Heat Therapy

Woman in sport clothes with neck pain

Arthritis is notorious for causing pain and stiffness in the joints. This pain can greatly interfere with the sufferer’s life. There are many treatments available, but these often come with risks and side effects. Heat therapy is treatment that can help with reduce pain and stiffness with minimal to no risk.

How Does Heat Therapy Help to Relieve Arthritis Pain?

This type of therapy is capable of penetrating deep into the tissues. This will result in stiff joints loosening and the associated muscles will relax. Sometimes, it is the muscles that surround the joint causing the pain. This is especially true in terms of spinal arthritis. Keeping the surrounding muscles relaxed is critical to keep pain to a minimum. This makes is ideal for arthritis. With this condition, joints can be so stiff and painful that using them is nearly impossible. By ensuring the joints are limber, things like full range of motion will be a possibility again.

Using Heat Therapy for Arthritis Pain Relief

There are several different devices that can be used. These include infrared heat saunas, stationary systems and handheld devices. Some of the handheld devices have built-in massagers which will further increase their pain-relieving benefits. If you tend to only have one or two joints that cause pain, a handheld device may be the best choice as you will be able to specifically target the painful joints.

If your pain is more widespread, a stationary system or infrared sauna is a better choice as these can target larger areas or the entire body at one time. This makes infrared therapy beneficial over things like heat pads and warm washcloths because unless you use several of these at once, you will only be able to target one small area at a time, when you really need pain relief in several joints. The average session with heat therapy is 30 to 90 minutes, however, many people start to experience relief with just 15 to 30 minutes of therapy. This is very beneficial if you are short on time, but need to relieve some of your pain. This also makes it more ideal over things like medications. Medications take time to kick in, but heat therapy is nearly instant relief that does not take long to achieve.

Does Heat Therapy for Arthritis Pain Pose a Risk?

There are not really any risks when this therapy is performed right. This therapy does involve high temperatures, so it is important to know which things do not mix well with heat. Antibiotics and heat therapy do not mix. The following are signs of overheating that you need to be aware of:
•    Nausea
•    Not sweating
•    Clammy skin
•    Dizziness
•    Vomiting
•    Feeling very tired

If overheating occurs, it is important to immediately stop the therapy, rest, cool the body and rehydrate.

Heat therapy is also contraindicated with the following health conditions:
•    Infection
•    Active shingles
•    Pregnancy
•    Allergic skin reactions
•    Varicose veins
•    Heart conditions
•    Overactive thyroid
•    Open wounds
•    Diabetes

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