Throughout Canada there are six million people living with arthritis; that is every 1 in 5 adults. It’s more common among women than men, with every 1 in 4 women versus every 1 in 6 men. Suffering from arthritis can have a devastating impact both mentally and physically. To treat arthritis pain one simple and effective way is to use heat therapy, which is recommended by the Arthritis Society in Canada.
Mainly, arthritis is inflammation of the joints or other areas of the body. Inflammation is redness and swelling that causes pain and stiffness. If left untreated, it can cause damage to the affected areas and lead to mobility issues. There are two main types of arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Inflammatory Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common of the two and happens when the body can’t repair damaged joint tissue from injury or ageing. The cartilage in the joints breakdown and cause the bones in the joint to rub together leading to pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of joint mobility.
Inflammatory Arthritis is joint damage from inflammation. Most forms of Inflammatory arthritis are a form of autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissue. This condition can lead to pain, stiffness, mobility issues, fatigue and damage to joints and other tissues. One well known type of Inflammatory Arthritis is Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Use Heat Therapy to Treat Arthritis
Heat Therapy is widely used to treat many forms of pain in the body. By applying a heat to the affected area, it turns on the heat receptors in the skin and in turn they interrupt the chemical messages to the brain that tell it there is pain occurring.
Heat Therapy is also beneficial to the body because it increases tissue elasticity which sooths stiff joints and muscles, increase blood circulation that brings nutrients to the injured area and removes waste to speed up healing.
Moist Heat therapy is beneficial in treating arthritis because it penetrates deep into the muscles and joints to provide faster pain relief. Doesn’t have the long term effects that some medications have and it is relaxing. People who suffer from arthritis are 1.5X more likely to have an anxiety disorder, so it’s physically and mentally beneficial to use moist heat therapy. The two most popular methods of moist heat therapy are moist heating pads and a warm bath. If mobility is an issue, showers work as well.
A large Warming Blanket provides pain relief to a large area such as the back. A Body Wrap is smaller and more versatile to offer pain relief to a specific area such as the knee. Also Warming Mitts or Warming Booties are a good way to treat arthritis in the hands and feet. A warm bath is great for treating all over the body. Adding Epsom salts to the bath may be beneficial to add extra pain relief because Epsom salt contains magnesium which reduces inflammation and pain.