If You Answered With Stiffness In The Knee Joint
If stiffness in the knee joint was a persons main symptom, providing there isnt much swelling and their pain levels are generally low, I would opt for applying heat to the affected knee joint.
This would encourage better mobility for the knee joint and let you walk further and stand more easily.
To use this technique, follow this method:
- Start sitting comfortably
- Take a hot water bottle
- Apply it immediately to your stiff knee
- Keep it there for 15 minutes, then remove
- Allow the skin to cool to a natural temperature, then repeat the process
- Always look out for any signs of heat burn on your skin and remove immediately if you see or feel anything.
What Is An Ice Burn
Ice burns look and behave like other burns. You can compare an ice burn most to sunburn since it is usually superficial and changes skin color.;
The affected skin will most likely turn the skin colors. Certainly, ice by itself will make your skin turn red. An ice burn, however, will look different.;
An ice burn will turn the skin bright red, white, or even yellowish-gray. You;may also notice a change in feeling if you sustain an ice burn. Your skin may feel numb, itchy, or tingly.;
If you have a deeper, more extreme burn, you will feel pain, and your skin may even blister. At its worst, the skin will feel unusually firm or waxy.;
To avoid an ice burn, put a barrier between the ice and your skin. Never put the ice directly on the skin.;
How To Treat Your Knee With Heat Therapy
If you decide to use heat to treat your knee, make sure the hot water bottle or heat pack is wrapped in a towel or other material to avoid burns and leave it on the site of your injury for 10-15 minutes. This can be repeated every 2 to 3 hours.
Heat may be helpful if your knee pain is the result of aching muscles from an injury caused by overuse.
Read Also: Why Do My Knees Crack When I Squat
A Summary Of How Ice & Heat Affect Your Blood Flow
Imagine you’re standing in your living room at home. When the air in that room is at normal room temperature , your body is in a comfortable state. Your heart rate and blood pressure are normal .
Imagine the air has cooled down to freezing…
When the room becomes cooler your heart rate begins to slow down and your blood pressure increases. Your body does this automatically to retain heat in your body. At this time your soft tissue will also start to squeeze on and contract all of the veins in your body carrying blood flow. This also helps to decrease the amount of blood flowing throughout your circulatory system and retains the heat.
When cold is applied to a knee injury, all of your soft tissue will squeeze on the veins to slow down your blood flow. This in turn clamps down on the amount of fluid leaking into your injured tissue, decreasing your swelling. This is why cold is used immediately to treat newer knee injuries or re-injuries. The cold slows down your body to stop the amount of damage happening to your tissue and decrease your swelling. This cold also has a nice side benefit of numbing the nerves in and around your knee injury thereby decreasing your pain.
In the medical world this is something called ‘Vasoconstriction’.
Now, imagine the air has warmed up enough that you start sweating…
When the room becomes warmer your heart rate speeds up and your blood pressure decreases. Your body is trying to increase your blood flow to cool down your body.
So Do You Use Heat Or Ice For Knee Pain
The answer to this question depends on the main problem you have, as well as the location of the pain around your knee.
The first question to ask yourself is this:;Is my main problem PAIN or STIFFNESS?
The second question is:;Is my main problem area my MUSCLES or my JOINT?
Lets talk about each scenario one by one
Also Check: Is Cycling Good For Arthritic Knees
Rice Therapy For Knee Pain
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help heal your aching knee.
Knee pain resulting from common strains and sprains can be treated at home by following a simple plan called RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Knee Pain: Rest
If you strain or sprain your knee, stop or reduce your activity level for a day or two. Depending on the severity of the knee pain, your doctor may also suggest that you avoid putting any weight on your knee for up to two days. If needed, crutches or a cane can keep you moving.
“The amount of time you rest varies,” says Robert Gotlin, DO, director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. “We recommend and promote rest as part of RICE therapy for as long as you have to in order to get the swelling reduced and the pain to an ‘ooooh’ rather than an ‘ouch.’ Rest at least a week, but most muscle strains or sprains are micro-tears of the tissue, and that takes at least three weeks to heal. Don’t exercise or do the activity that caused the knee pain in the first place.”
Knee Pain: Ice
Use a bag of ice or cold pack on your knee four to eight times per day for 20 minutes each time. Don’t hold it on there longer than 20 minutes because it can cause frostbite. To be careful and more comfortable, surround the ice pack with a towel to avoid freezing the skin.
Knee Pain: Compression
Knee Pain: Elevation
Knee Pain: When to See a Doctor
How Do You Use Heat / Warm Temperatures To Help Heal Your Knee
HEAT is used after you’ve reduced your swelling / inflammation and the sharp pain is less intense . Warming up your tissue is a natural way to encourage healing of soft tissue. Increasing the temperature in soft tissue will result in increased blood flow circulation. It’s the blood in your body that will bring oxygen, nutrients and water to your injured knee to help with healing.
Heat can Make Inflammation, Swelling and Newer Injuries Worse – How?
When we injure ourselves, we start healing right away. The body will naturally raise the temperature at the site of the injury resulting in the inflammatory response . This ‘fake fever’ leaks blood flow to the area to cool it down and start the healing process.
Adding ‘heat’ to the injured tissue in your knee when it’s already inflamed and tender may make your body think there’s a new threat to your tissue and increase the pain in order to get you to stop. For some people applying heat on inflamed / swollen tissue will cause the injury to swell-up even more . You’ll feel even more pain as the pressure builds in your knee.
Heat is NOT a good treatment method for inflamed soft tissue injuries, new injuries , right after surgery or right after a re-injury . In these cases, heat should be applied later on in the healing cycle. In the meantime, cold compression with a Cold Compress or Ice Pack should be used to decrease any inflammation induced pain.
When Should You Use Heat to Heal Your Knee?
With regular use of the Knee TShellz Wrap:
Read Also: Is Bike Riding Good For Arthritic Knees
If You Answered With Pain In The Knee Joint
You might want to opt for ice. If your main problem is knee joint pain, I would apply the ice directly to the most painful area of the joint.
Youll want to use a few layers between the ice and your skin. My preferred method would be:
- Take a bag of frozen peas from the freezer
- Wrap a thin towel around them
- Dampen the towel slightly, then apply to the painful area for 15 minutes
- Remove the peas/towel and let the area heat back up to its natural skin temperature
- You can then apply the peas/towel again. There is no limit to how many times you can do this.
- Always look out for any signs of ice burn on your skin and remove immediately if you see or feel anything.
Can You Make A Pinched Nerve Worse
You can make a pinched nerve worse in several different ways. So, now that weve covered how to use heat and ice therapy to make a pinched nerve better, lets talk about things that can make a pinched nerve worse. Below are some examples of things to avoid when dealing with a pinched nerve.
- Lifting heavy things.
- Performing high-intensity or high-speed exercise.
- Playing contact sports.
- Sitting or laying too much .
- Avoiding the doctor if the pain persists.
Recommended Reading: Do Copper Knee Braces Really Work
What Is Heat Therapy
Heat therapy is the application of heat to an injury, for example using a hot water bottle or heat pack . It increases the temperature of the tissue around the injury, which increases blood flow and circulation as well as the elasticity of the tissue.
One theory for why this works is that the increased blood flow to the damaged tissue can promote healing. Its also thought that heat could provide pain relief and reduce muscle spasm as well as stiffness, by warming up muscles and making them more flexible.
Heat therapy is thought to be effective for long-term injuries or ones that are not swollen.
Cold Therapy For Joint Pain
When arthritis pain causes a sensation of burning, cool it off with cold applying an ice pack or even a bag of frozen vegetables can help to numb areas affected by joint pain. Cold therapy can reduce inflammation, a major cause of arthritis joint pain and stiffness. Placing a cold pack on a swollen joint can also help bring it back down to size, which will also lessen joint pain.
Read Also: Ways To Pop Your Knee
Whats Better For Knee Pain: Ice Or Heat
I get a lot of people reaching out to me to ask about the best tips for knee pain relief. Luckily, thats exactly what I do! Ice and heat are really useful, totally natural pain relieving methods for a variety of injuries. Today, we are going to talk about when you should use ice and when you should use heat for each different type of knee pain.
Knee Ice Compression Therapy
;Cold compression therapy is when you mix the benefits of cryotherapy and compression therapy, by applying ice and some sort of compression wrap around the affected joint. This form of therapy is widely used in the treatment of pain and inflammation after certain types of injuries and after a medical or surgical procedure. One great example of how you can combine the two, is our Knee Ice Wrap with Compression. How does it work and does it provide relief? Keep reading.;Ice;Ice is used to lower the temperature of the tissue surrounding the injured area, which has the effect of narrowing the blood vessels. Its a process called vasoconstriction which is a decrease in the amount of blood being delivered to the affected area, which helps in reducing the amount of swelling that occurs. After approximately 10 minutes or of applying ice, the blood vessels will dilate which increases the blood flow. This allows the delivery of much-needed oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the tissue. This process is called vasolidation and slows down cell death, reduces the change of further tissue damage and gets rid of waste. In addition to the above, ice also helps to numb the nerve endings which dulls the pain and makes it bearable.;
Don’t Miss: Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Scars
What Is Ice Therapy Or Cold Therapy
Ice has traditionally been used to reduce swelling caused by damage to the muscles, ligaments or tendons .
Its believed that ice reduces the tissue temperature and blood flow to the area, which helps to limit the bodys response to the injury, reducing inflammation and bleeding. It can also numb the area, reducing any pain.
For this reason it is thought to be effective in treating new injuries that have acute pain and swelling.
The Use Of Ice For Inflammation: A Prehistoric Approach That Should Be Discontinued
For decades its been common practice to apply ice to an injury to decrease swelling. The research supporting this approach has been very poor, and lately, studies are showing that ice may actually have a negative impact on healing. Why are so many health care professionals still using ice as a first line of defense after a new injury? The suggestion is that ice slows down the circulation to the area and minimizes the accumulation of swelling. Is this the right reasoning and approach for this? Lets dig deeper into the topic of swelling.
Recommended Reading: How To Remove Scar Tissue From Knee Surgery
Should You Use Heat Or Ice For Knee Pain
Should You Use Heat Or Ice For Knee Pain?
According to CDC.gov, Knee pain is prevalent in 18% of the US population. The incidence of knee pain is slightly higher in women than in men. Studies indicate that the pain gets worse with age and that obese and overweight individuals are highly susceptible to it. Other risk factors include osteoarthritis, fractures, overuse, gout and so on. If you dont tackle knee pain early, the joint may degenerate to a level where surgery is the only option for treatment. As you know, knee replacement surgery is ridiculously expensive and complex. You definitely dont want to walk down that path.
Knee pain can cause extreme discomfort and prevent mobility. This has a negative impact on a persons social life and emotional well being. In many cases, it can even prevent the individual from working in certain environments and lead to heavy financial losses. Knee pain is one problem that you must nip in the bud or else it can destroy your life, really! If you think that is an overstatement, ask a person who suffers from chronic pain.
Physiotherapy, compression knee pain wraps, light massage, icing , heating and acupressure are all effective against knee pain IF you do them right. All of these approaches are hassle free and inexpensive. But should you use heat or ice for knee pain? Let us take a closer look at what the science says.
The Benefits of Ice for Knee Pain
The Benefits of Heat for Knee Pain
How To Treat Joint Pain
Whether to use a hot or cold treatment to provide relief depends on the source of the pain.
Heat increases blood flow to an affected area, which promotes healing and relaxes muscle spasms. Cold restricts blood flow, reducing swelling and inflammation. It also numbs pain around the affected area.
Generally speaking, ice is better for inflammatory pain. You can tell if a joint is inflamed if its red, swollen, or warm to the touch. Relieve inflamed joints by applying a gel ice pack, cold pack, or even a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a T-shirt to the injured area.
For joint pain;not;caused by inflammation such as osteoarthritis opt for heat. The;Arthritis Foundation;recommends placing a moist heating pad wrapped in a layer of cloth on the affected joint or soaking it in a warm bath. Heat treatments also can be effective for rheumatoid arthritis when youre;not;having a flare-up.
You May Like: How To Pop Your Knee While Lying Down
How To Use Consistent Deep Tissue Stretching To Improve Knee Strength & Health
For many people, the treatment won’t just end there. Stretching is also an important part of tendon healing – and it’s the final stepneeded when healing your knee injury with conservative treatment methods.
You would be suprised by how many people there are that don’t understand the importance of stretching a knee injury. Before returning to full activity after an injury, physical therapists prescribe gentle stretching… This is because stretching is the secret of healing any soft tissue injury. Consistent stretching is one of the only solutions available to break up scar tissue that forms on your knee as it heals.
Stretching with use of a Cold Compress or Ice Pack and TShellz Wrap® is even better!
Reducing Knee Pain And Swelling
Many treatments can help reduce pain and swelling in your knee. Your;healthcare provider;or physical therapist may suggest one or more of the following treatments:
Icing your knee. ;This;helps reduce swelling. You may be asked to ice your knee once a day or more. Apply ice for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time, with at least 40 minutes between sessions. To make an;ice pack, put ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals at the top. Wrap the bag in a clean, thin towel or cloth. Never put ice or an ice pack directly on the skin.
Keeping your leg raised above your heart. This;helps excess fluid flow out of your knee joint;to;reduce swelling.
Compression.;This;means wrapping an elastic bandage or neoprene sleeve snugly around your knees. It keeps fluid from collecting in and around your knee joint.
Electrical stimulation.;This is;done by a physical therapist or athletic trainer. It can help reduce excess fluid in your knee joint.
Anti-inflammatory medicines.;These;may be prescribed by your healthcare provider. You may take pills or get;shots in your knee.
Isometric exercises.;These;strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint. They also help reduce excess fluid in your knee.
Massage.;This;helps fluid drain away from your knee.
Recommended Reading: Do Copper Knee Braces Really Work
Is It Okay To Put Heat On A Pinched Nerve
Overall, its okay to put heat on a pinched nerve. However, there are times when ice is best, and other times when heat is most beneficial.
The general rule of thumb for a pinched nerve is to use heat only after youve managed to get the pain to subside a little bit. When the pain first flares up, use ice or cold packs before you use heat. And dont apply heat to the area directly after applying ice. Youll want to wait 30 minutes to an hour at least.
For the best results, keep the heat on the affected area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Take a minimum 30-minute break between sessions. If you find that its helping, you can apply moderate heat to an area for up to an hour or more. Extended heat therapy is most beneficial for more severe pain from a pinched nerve. Its almost like spending time in a hot tub you can do it safely if its not too hot.