If you are suffering from arthritic pain, it may be confusing to know when you should be applying cold versus heat therapies to help soothe your pain. In this article, we will be going over all of the benefits of cold therapy for arthritis, the best methods to use, as well as how often you should be applying it to help with pain and inflammation.
Benefits of Cold Therapy
When it comes to cold therapy, there are many different benefits. Here are the main benefits of using cold therapy to treat arthritis pain:
Decreases Swelling and Inflammation
Applying a cold treatment to areas affected by arthritis is helpful for reducing overall swelling by shrinking the blood vessels in the area. This will help to reduce the blood flow as well as decrease pain.
Reduces Fluid Build-Up In Joints
Along with reducing blood blow and swelling to the area, applying a cold compress to areas that are prone to fluid build up in the joints is helpful for slowing the build up process and contributing to a lessening of overall swelling.
Using a cold compress will help to reduce the signals of pain being sent to the brain from the affected area.
What are The Best Ways to Apply Cold Therapy?
There are many different ways to apply cold therapy to areas of pain. Here are the top methods of cold therapy treatments for arthritis:
The simplest solution for a quick and easy cold therapy application, filling a bag with ice and applying it to areas of pain is something that can be accomplished easily with items you most likely already have in your home.
Similar to an ice pack, Cold Packs are typically filled with a gel that does not freeze completely solid, allowing for a flexible fit to any area of the body. They are available in many different shapes and sizes to allow for the perfect fit.
Cold Therapy Wrap
More advanced than an ice or cold pack, a cold therapy wrap often combines both cold therapy with compression therapy to relieve pain, inflammation, and swelling. These wraps are available for specific areas of the body such as the knee and back.
Cold Therapy Machine
Our top pick for cold therapy treatment, a cold therapy unit will provide extended cold therapy for hours to specific areas of the body. These machines are motorized to circulate ice cold water to an attached wrap that surrounds the area for optimal cold therapy treatment.
How Often to Apply Cold Therapy
You can apply cold therapy treatments daily or as needed. It is recommended to use for 20 minute time intervals. For most cold therapy methods, you will need to have a barrier between the cold pack or wrap and the skin. You can use a t-shirt, thin hand towel, or any piece of thin fabric to protect the skin.
When to Choose Cold Therapy vs. Heat Therapy?
When it comes to treating pain associated with arthritis, choosing heat or cold therapy may come down to personal preference. Different people may find one method more soothing than the other.
Applying moist heat to a painful area helps to loosen the muscles and joints which will also be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation. Many people find using a combination of both cold and moist heat therapy for arthritic pain to be the most efficient in reducing pain.
Choosing the best method of cold therapy is a personal choice. It can sometimes take trial and error to find the best option, and maybe the best for you is a mix of both cold and heat therapy treatments. At Source Cold Therapy, we are proud to offer the very best options for Cold Therapy on the market. From Cold Therapy Units, to cold packs and more.