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Heat therapy is often associated with relieving all kinds of pain, aches, knots, tightness etc. But some people get confused when it comes to using heat with arthritis treatment. From my research, it’s a well proven practice to undertake. So why does heat help with arthritis pain?.
The short answer is becasue heat encourages blood flow which encourages a faster recovery process to the affected area. So when you have tight stiff muscles or pain in the joints, the nutrients and oxygen the increased blood flow provide can help relieve arthritic pain.
Below, you can find a more in-depth answer to this question as well as a few tips and tricks for managing your arthritis pain without having to reach for the medicine cabinet. This is done by using special heat therapy tools and practices to relieve pain and encourage healing at a quicker rate.
One of the most common ways to use heat to relieve arthritis pain is by using specific heating pads that target the areas arthritis is commonly associated with. By having a heat pad like this, you can pinpoint the pain areas and get far better relief than to use a pad that’s not suitable.
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Does Heat Therapy Help Arthritis Pain And How?
The short answer to this question is yes as briefly mentioned above. Heat does significantly reduce arthritis pain if it is implemented in the correct way. The key here is that heat therapy must be administered in the right way for it to have the most possible benefit for relieving arthritis pain. If you are concerned about using heat for the first time, always consult your Doctor for advice and perhaps a few recommended products.
The reason that heat is effective in treating arthritis pain is that it helps to relieve sore muscles and joints while also increasing the amount of blood flow to those areas to help with healing some of the inflammation that may be there.
When you apply a heat source to your body, regardless of what it is, the blood can flow much easier. The vessels open up and calm down after receiving the heat which therefore increases the amount of flow the blood has. With the extra flow comes extra oxygen through red blood cells and the important nutrients the body needs to heal itself. Which is why it’s important to also have a a healthy diet to create red blood cells. Especially considering these red cells typically die off after about 16 weeks.
So, how can you take advantage of arthritis pain relief through heat? Below are just a few tips to get you started on your path to less pain from arthritis thanks to heat therapy.
Infrared Heat And Arthritis Pain
Infrared devices come in all shapes and sizes and they are the best for relieving muscle and joint pain. Why I hear you ask?. Infrared light is a heat source like others, but it is invisible to the human eye. Think of it like heat from the sun. You don’t see it, but you sure feel the heat when you step out into sunshine. Infrared is like this but with a difference.
Unlike other heat sources, infrared heats from the inside out. Meaning it travels from the device deep into your joints and tissues and heats from there. It doesn’t heat the skin like other heat sources do. So not only does this prevent burning your skin with a heat device, it always heats up the affected areas quicker and more efficiently. This is because infrared heat penetrates much deeper (Up to 2 inches in some cases) into the body.
So to heat arthritic joints with the best results, infrared is my recommendation. It doesn’t burn the skin yet reaches much deeper into the muscles and joints to provide the benefits of heat therapy.
Infrared Devices For Arthritis
- Infrared Massagers for treating arthritis
- Heating Pads With Infrared – Great for selecting a body part to attach a heat pad to. These devices deliver relief without you having to do anything.
- Heat Pads For The Knees
Using Moist Heat To Relieve Arthritis Pain
Besides the Infrared heat benefits, moist heat is typically more effective when it comes to treating arthritis pain because it penetrates your tissues deeper than dry heat does. This deeper penetration allows more heat to reach the inflamed joints associated with arthritis pain and will provide more relief to the area where you are feeling the most pain.
Because these types of heat pads use moisture as a heat source, they won’t dry out the skin or burn as much as a traditional heat pad can do. Which is why they are the second choice behind infrared when treating arthritis with heat.
Some modern heating pads have cloth covers that allow them to be used either wet or dry. But be sure to clarify with the seller that you intend to use this as a moist heat pad and ask if this is possible. Mixing water with an electric pad is not safe unless you buy a specified moist heating pad. If you’re in the market to purchase a new heating pad, select one that has a safe cloth cover that can be used while damp.
Take A Hot Bath
Another great option for arthritis pain relief through heat is to simply climb into the bathtub for a nice warm soak. If you want to have the most benefit possible from a warm soak in the tub, then you’re going to want to include a little something extra in your water.
Epsom Salt Soaks For Arthritis Pain
To get the most arthritis pain relieving benefits possible from a warm bath soak, add a little bit of Epsom salt to your bathwater. The theory behind this is that the Epsom salt contains magnesium which is broken down by the bathwater and can soak into your skin allowing your circulation to further improve and ultimately further relieve your arthritis pain.
While this has never been scientifically proven, many people claim that an Epsom salt bath is one of the best things available to relieve arthritis pain. Best of all, Epsom salts are generally very inexpensive and can be found at most pharmacies.
If you’re wanting to try out an Epsom salt bath yourself, all you need to do is pick up a container of Epsom salts at your local pharmacy or online. I prefer the EpSoak brand on amazon.com. Then follow the instructions on the back of the container to learn the amount of salt to add to your bathwater.
Create Healthy Red Blood Cells
As briefly mentioned above, healthy red blood cells provide the oxygen from the lungs into the affected regions of your body. So when applying heat to the part of your body which as arthritis, it’s important to heave healthy red blood cells for the best results. Having a poor diet while applying heat therapy may not produce the results you are after.
The minerals that help produce healthy red blood cells and make you feel less tired and weak due to lack of oxygen being dispersed around the body include:
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin A
Foods That Can Produce Healthy Red Blood Cells
- One of the health benefits of Kale is that it is great for red blood cells. Kale has the important Vitamins A, B6 and B9.
- Red meat, fish and dairy are great sources of B12.
- For extra iron it’s good to eat organ meat such as liver or kidney.
- Peas, beans and lentils are good sources of Folic Acid.
Using Heat Therapy The Right Way For Arthritis Pain
The important thing to always remember regardless of what kind of heat therapy you choose to try yourself is that you should never apply heat to any area on your body for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Another thing to remember is that you should never apply heat therapy to any areas where you have an open lesion or other damages such as bruises or small scrapes. Applying heat to these areas may increase damage or cause them to begin bleeding again as circulation is increased to the damaged tissue.
Does heat help arthritis pain? As you can see from the above tips, yes heat can certainly help with the arthritis pain that you may be experiencing.
Just remember that while any kind of heat is effective for arthritis pain, using moist heat will often work much better than using dry heat, adding Epsom salts to your bath can often help significantly reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing, and by making certain that you do not apply heat to any area for more than 20 minutes can help you to achieve the maximum benefit available from heat therapy for arthritis pain.
Living with the constant pain that arthritis can have is something that no one should have to do. By following the tips listed above, hopefully you can begin to experience some arthritis pain relief through heat therapy.