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Applying cold or heat for conditions involving the muscles or joints has long been used for improving arthritis symptoms.
Heat application to an arthritic area has several effects. It reduces muscle spasm, pain and soreness. Warming the tissue also promotes blood circulation which nourishes muscle fibers. For patients with arthritis, heat applications sometimes work best early in the day by relaxing the muscles around the joints.
Applying ice or cold pack to inflamed joints appears to reduce pain and swelling by causing the blood to constrict. As a result, further leakage of blood and serum is prevented thereby reducing swelling and pain. Cold application also provides pain relief. Ice applications at the end of the day can reduce the inflammation that result from daily activities.
Effect of Heat and Cold Therapy on Rheumatoid Arthritis
When used in alternation, heat and cold therapies can provide symptomatic relief for rheumatoid arthritis.
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