Arthritis is a form of joint disorder which causes inflammation in one or more joints. Arthritis has many different forms and it is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Pain caused by arthritis is often constant and it can be localized to the joint affected. The inflammation can cause a lot of discomfort, but fortunately there are a lot of different products and therapies available to help alleviate the pain and give the affected individual some relief. There are a lot of different warming and cooling products which have been specially tested and designed for treating arthritis. Warming products range from creams, gloves, braces, and other homeopathic forms of treatment, and cooling products include sprays, and ice packs. Heat and cold therapy has been proven to greatly help to reduce the stiffness and inflammation commonly associated with arthritis. The choice of which form of therapy to use is a personal preference. Here’s a list of some of the commonly used products in heat and cold therapy:
Commonly used Warming Products
- Arthritis Gloves: Light compression gloves designed to provide therapeutic warmth to reduce pain and swelling. The gloves are made from neoprene which has been shown to retain the body’s natural heat and hence provide soothing warmth and relief to aching joints.
- Arthritis Creams: There are many different types of topical creams that are made with ingredients known to warm the body and alleviate pain. The most common topical cream used for treating arthritis is made from capsaicin, an ingredient commonly found in cayenne peppers. This ingredient has been widely researched and it is known for warming the area it is applied to while blocking the chemical that sends pain signals to the brain.
- Joint Braces: There are a variety of braces designed to warm different types of joints on the body. There are braces for the knees, wrists, and fingers. These braces are made from light compressing material made from ceramic fibers that insulate joints, retaining heat and slowly reflecting it back into the joint and other surrounding tissues. The support provided by braces also helps to improve circulation in the affected areas and allows for better mobility.
- Heat Packs: Heat packs are bags containing liquids or gels with high temperatures. The packs can be heated in microwaves and reused over periods of time. Individuals with arthritis can use the packs to warm their joints and provide some relief.
- Moist Heating Pads: Heating pads are used for warming specific parts of the body. The pads enhance perfusion of targeted tissues and cause the blood vessels in the affected area to dilate. Heating pads can be electrical or chemical. Hot water bottles are also effective for acting as heating pads.
Commonly Used Cooling Products
Cold therapy is also known for helping to treat inflammations by numbing the affected area and relieving pain flares. There are very few products designed to offer cold therapy, these are:
- Ice Packs: These packs are either made with liquids or gels. The packs are stored in a freezer and they maintain their temperatures for prolonged periods of time. You can also make your own instant ice packs using frozen bags of vegetables.
- Local Sprays: Sprays made from chemicals such as fluoromethane are used to provide cool relief on affected joints and tissues. They are ideal for use before or after exercising and they provide superficial cooling which decrease muscle spasms.
The use of cooling and warming products is a popular way of relieving pain and reducing stiffness in joints. They are more natural and they provide instant relief. Other methods of treatment for arthritis involve surgery or the use of powerful painkillers, and most people try to avoid using these forms of treatment if they can. Arthritis is painful and it can hinder your ability to do daily tasks, but with the proper care, you should be able to perform your regular duties with relative ease.