Heat and cold can both be used to help reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis. The patient and doctor can determine which one works best.
Heat therapy may increase blood flow, tolerance for pain, and flexibility. Some ways to apply moist heat include placing warm towels or hot packs on the inflamed joint or taking a warm bath or shower.
Cold therapy may relieve inflammation. Cold therapy can involve cold packs, ice massage, soaking in cold water, or over-the-counter sprays and ointments that cool the skin and joints.
*Be sure to check with your healthcare professional to see if heat and cold therapies are right for you.
Adapted from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. For more information on this topic visit www.niams.nih.gov.