Are Heating Pads Good for Arthritis?
Heat therapies, like warm baths and using heating pads, work best in relieving tired muscles and stiff joints because heat promotes blood circulation. Cold treatments are also suitable for arthritis, but we will be focusing on heat therapies using heating pads.
Is a heating pad good for arthritis? Applying heat to the affected area is an economical way to ease aches and pains related to arthritis. Heat relaxes stiff joints and muscle spasms. Some data showed that patients suffering from arthritic pain felt more comfortable after heat therapy sessions.
What Are the Different Types of Heating Pads?
Heating pads are used to manage pain felt in different parts of the body. These pains come from muscle strain, creating tension that limits blood circulation. Applying heat to the target area increases blood flow.
Hot Water Bottles
Hot water bottles are the most common heating packs used at home. Generally, we fill the container with hot water which would slowly release the warm temperature inside while in use.
Electrical pads are probably the second most commonly used in homes after hot water bottles. It uses electricity from the energy supply inside its house.
These heating pads, when applied directly to the user’s skin, may cause burning. That is why different materials cover most heating pads with soft materials for protection.
Heating pads used for dry or moist therapies are both capable of relieving pain. The use of damp heating pads is for more in-depth tissue therapy though extra care should be taken to avoid burning.
An electric heating pouch functions much like the heating pad but it's more designed to be wrapped around an aching joint whereas heating pads are more suitable for flat treatments.
Chemical Heat Pads
You will also find chemical heat pads that are either reusable or for one-time use only. The disposable kind, mostly used as hand warmers for outdoor activities, is small packets that you hold in your hand. You release heat by opening sealed packs filled with chemicals that produce heat.
You submerge reusable heating pads in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes after the first use to redissolve the chemicals inside. Wait for the pad to go back to room temperature before submerging in boiling water to trigger it to achieve high-temperature range.
Then there are heating pads that you can reheat in a microwave before you use it. These pads made from a thick fabric and filled with grains that can produce heat are also useful. More often than not, aromatic compounds such as essential oils or dried herbs added inside produce a pleasant smell when heated.
When To Apply Heat Therapy?
Heat therapies are easy to use and effective in managing the pain. You don’t need to take any medications and is quite economical too. You can use heat treatment for continuous conditions to relax your muscles and tissues and let the blood flow naturally.
Heat therapies improve blood circulation, so they can alleviate discomfort and promote muscle flexibility. They can even heal damaged tissues at times. Use local heat therapy for target or specific areas, while regional heat therapy is what you need for a larger area.
You can appease minor muscle pains and joint stiffness within 15 to 20 minutes of hot treatment. While severe or moderate pains need longer heat therapy sessions to achieve your desired result.
Be very cautious when using this kind of treatment since excessive heat and long periods of exposure to the heat may cause burning of the skin. It is always recommended to consult a medical practitioner before conducting treatment.
Is a Heating Pad Good for Arthritis?
What can we do to ease the stiffness and pain caused by arthritis? Many therapists and doctors recommend cold and heat treatments to lessen pain and swelling.
So, is a heating pad good for arthritis? Yes. These therapies trigger your body’s healing abilities.
Arthritis is the swelling of one or more joints and feels painful. Arthritis is typical in overweight people and women alike and can develop at any age.
The two most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Symptoms may appear suddenly or develop over time.
Heat encourages blood circulation and lessens muscle pain and contraction associated with arthritis. Find a tolerable temperature that you feel comfortable with and use it regularly. Be consistent with your routine for better results, but be sure not to use electric heating pads on high settings and for extended periods unless advised by your doctor.
Other Heat Therapies
There are other types of heat therapies for your arthritis that you can use aside from heating pads. We have mentioned heat packs above which you can purchase over the counter at drugstores.
You can go to a heated swimming pool or take a warm shower. You can also use a warm and moist towel.
The heat applied to the arthritic joint will help minimize the pain and lets you move freely and naturally.
When to Avoid Heat Therapy?
Heat treatments are suitable to relieve muscle pain and relax stiff joints but not always advisable. So when is the right time and when do we refrain from using it?
Applying heat treatment after activities and after acute injuries is not recommended. You should not use heat therapy on swollen or bruised areas because there might be bleeding in the tissue. The heat will attract more blood to the swollen area.
Using heat treatment is also not suggested for people with dermatitis, diabetes, and an open wound to mention a few. People suffering from hypertension and heart disease should consult their doctors first before attempting heat therapy.
There will always be advantages and disadvantages to whatever choice or decision we make. What is essential is always to seek professional help if we are unsure and be careful when using home remedies.
There are no fixed ways to relieve arthritic pains. You will find a wide variety of choices that offer relief. You can also use one particular technique or combine several options that will work for you.
Whatever you choose, keep in mind that your body will be affected by the outcome, whether good or bad.