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Is Heat Good For Knee Pain

Inflammation Of The Joint Lining

Ice vs. Heat for Knee Pain | Knee Exercises

If you have injured the joint recently and it suddenly becomes painful again, the thin layer of tissue lining the joints and tendons may be inflamed, a condition called traumatic synovitis.

It usually does not cause any redness or heat.

You should be able to manage injury-related swelling at home with anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, an icepack and rest.

Why Do I Ache All Over

Muscle pain that affects a small part of your body is usually caused by overuse sore arms from lifting boxes all day, for example. Or it could be a minor injury, like a bruised shoulder after a fall. But when you ache all over your body, its more likely caused by an infection, illness, or medicine youve taken.

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.

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Icing Or Heating Joints Can Provide Pain Relief And Reduce Swelling But Knowing Whether To Go Cold Or Hot And Knowing How To Use Each Form Of Thermal Therapy Can Be Tricky

Sometimes old-fashioned home remedies are just what the doctor ordered. Take using ice or heat for joint pain, for example. When your knee or your shoulder feels stiff, sore, or has a burning sensation, cooling down or warming up the affected area can help provide relief.

Its more of symptomatic relief, says Nilanjana Bose, MD, a board-certified rheumatologist with the Rheumatology Center of Houston. The pain may remain but because gives symptomatic relief, over time that will help, in conjunction with other medicines, heal the area.

But knowing when to use ice and when to use heat for pain relief can be confusing, especially if youre dealing with an ache or issue that youve never dealt with before. Although you should see a health care provider if youre experiencing consistent pain, its helpful to know what treatments can help provide immediate relief, especially if you arent able to see your doctor right away.

So, the question remains: when should you use ice versus heat to ease joint pain? Well, it mostly depends on the cause and type of joint pain youre experiencing, though personal preferences matter, too. After all, nobody knows your own body like you do.

Below, we provide information on when to use heat or ice for joint pain relief, as well as some tips to make your treatment more effective.

Bonus Tip: Stretch After Using Heat Therapy To Strengthen Your Lower Back

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While heat therapy may help you find quick relief from your sciatica symptoms, it is best used as part of a broader treatment plan that typically includes stretching and other targeted exercises.

Read more about Sciatica Treatment

When you experience pain relief after using heat therapy, try to perform simple lower back stretches. Stretches and targeted exercises can help prevent sciatica from recurring, by relieving the sciatic nerve compression, strengthening your tissues, and improving the flexibility in your lower back.

Use these tips today to see if the benefits of heat treatment help improve your sciatica symptoms. For long-term pain relief, add an exercise program or regular walking to your everyday routine.

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How Often Should I Use Heat Or Cold Therapy For Arthritis Pain

Try to use moist heat or ice packs at least twice a day for the best relief from pain and stiffness.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, five to 10-minute ice massages applied to a painful area within the first 48 hours of pain onset can provide relief. So can heat, which relaxes the muscles. Heat should be used for pain that lasts longer than 48 hours.

Top 10 Knee Pain Relief Treatments

Knee Pain Treatments

The doctor is usually able to rule out the knee problem by checking out the symptoms a patient is experiencing by doing a physical examination. Although in some occasional cases, the doctors might suggest a scan or tests to get a confirmed diagnosis and also to look out for a more specialized treatment for the patient. The course of the treatment depends exactly upon the underlying cause of your knee pain. If a person is waiting for a week to see if the knee pain subsides on its own but all in vain, then they might need a proper treatment from an orthopedic. The treatments for knee pain include helping the foot problems or making the hips stronger if the knee pain is mild and is only due to some minor muscular injury.

The doctors usually recommend one of these following treatments for treating knee pain:

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Which Are The Risk Factors To Bone To Bone Knee Pain

Various factors that may increase your chances of developing knee pains include:

Abundance weight

Overweight or corpulent increases weight on your knee joints. During conventional exercises, for example, strolling or going all over stairs may create pains in your knee joints. It additionally puts you at an increased danger of Osteoarthritis by quickening the breakdown of the joint ligament.

Absence of muscle adaptability or quality

A lack of solidarity and adaptability can build the danger of knee wounds. Solid muscles help to balance out and secure your joints. Muscle adaptability can assist you in achieving a full scope of movement.

Certain games or occupations

Some games put more weight on your knees than do others. Snow-capped skiing with its inflexible ski boots and potential for falls, balls hops and rotates, increases the danger of knee damage. Occupations that require redundant weight on the knees, for example, cultivation, can expand your hazard.

Previous damage

Having past knee damage makes it more probable that you’ll hurt your knee once more.

Complications Associated with Bone to Bone Knee Joint Pain

Some knee wounds and ailments, for example, Osteoarthritis, can prompt unbearable, joint harm, and disability if left untreated. What’s more, having knee damage even a minor one makes it almost certain that you’ll have comparative wounds later on.

What Are Sciatica Symptoms

When to use heat or cold for knee pain?

Sciatica isnt a condition. Its actually a symptom of a condition. Usually, its caused by a lumbar herniated disc, a degenerative disc disorder, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, a spinal curvature or pregnancy. People who have sciatica will have a continuous or intermittent pain in one side of their buttocks or leg. In very rare cases, the person has pain in both of the legs. Oftentimes, the pain is worse when the person is seated. Those with sciatica may complain of a burning or tingling sensation. Its not uncommon for the patient to experience numbness or weakness. Its also possible for the person to have difficulty moving toes, a foot or a leg. For some, the pain is sharp. Pain may radiate down the leg and into the feet or toes, or the leg may feel tight.

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How Infrared Light Therapy Works On Joints

Infrared devices have diodes built into the devices which naturally help the healing process. So if your knee is sore, injured or you suffer from arthritis, the benefits can be amazing. Without being to scientific, the process works like this.

The blood cells in our bodies carry oxygen, glucose and nutrients. When you have injured a body part, or have Neuropathy, the blood flow is decreased. All cells including nerves are affected. When you have a problem in any area of your body, the nerves close by can sense the lack of blood flow and they send pain signals to your brain which in turn cause pain in the affected area. Lack of sensation in the knees or other body part is the chief symptom which is a major reason for falls.

Each cell within our bodies has a power plant which is called the Mitochondria. The purpose of the Mitochondria is to produce energy for the cells. Now these power plants are very sensitive to light, infrared having the most depth of light sources can stimulate the oxygen, glucose and nutrients in the cells when the nerves receive increased blood flow. Remember, using infrared energy increases blood flow.

This is done by the infrared releasing nitric oxide from hemoglobin into muscle cells into the walls of the blood vessels. This causes the muscle cells to relax and then the blood vessel enlarges which allows blood to flow more freely.

When To Use Ice And When To Use Heat For Aches And Pains

No matter what your fitness level, everyone deals with aches and pains from time to time. From the rec-league warriors and high school athletes to fitness newbies, being active can come with aches, pains and sometimes injuries.

When you find yourself in pain, or groaning a little more than normal when you stand up, it can be a tough to know whether to use ice or to apply heat to get some relief. Heres some advice on what to do the next time you find yourself feeling a twinge.

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When To Use Ice For Joint Pain

For the most part, ice is appropriate to use within 48 hours of an acute injury or a flare-up of joint pain that comes with inflammation, experts explain. Examples include tendinitis, bursitis, soft tissue injuries, and inflamed joints, Dr. Bose says.

How to Use Ice for Joint Pain

The rule of thumb for icing down an inflamed area is up to 10 minutes on, followed by about 10 minutes off, several times if needed. Dont put ice or a cold pack directly on the skin, unless the cold pack has a built-in barrier, to prevent skin damage. Pay attention to how your body is responding to the cold. Listen to your body, Dr. Bose says. I tell my patients: Use an ice pack, put it on the knee, and once it starts getting uncomfortable, give it a break.

Types of Ice Therapy

You have a lot of options when it comes to icing a joint. At-home solutions like filling a plastic bag with ice cubes and a little water, using a bag of frozen vegetables, or putting a damp towel in the freezer are time-tested for a reason. You can purchase gel packs and other types of cold packs at drugstores or supermarkets. Whatever method you choose, use something large enough to cover the whole area where the pain is located, Dr. Smith says.

Safety with Ice Therapy

Heating Depth: How Far Does It Go

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Roughly a degree Celsius or two at a couple centimetres depth, give or take, depending on how and where its done.

Scientists have tested this. For instance, in 1998, Draper et al heated subjects triceps muscles with hot packs for fifteen minutes, and then checked their temperature with a needle probe like a very thin meat thermometer .10 They found an average increase of 3.8C at a depth of one centimetre, and .78 at three centimetres.

To go deeper into this topic, see Icing, Heating & Tissue Temperature. It describes more science, and covers factors like the delivery mechanism, anatomical differences , and the effect of adipose tissue.

I think this data clearly shows that superficial heating is an easy way to modestly increase tissue temperature up to a couple centimetres which is most of the volume of most muscles for whatever thats worth. The 3.8C increase in the muscle shallows is something, but .78 change at 3cm depth and a lot of muscle is that deep is clinically trivial, well within the range of healthy variations in core body temperature.

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Local Heating Versus Systemic Heating

There are many ways to heat yourself up, but two broad categories: local and systemic.

Local heating means specific heating: applying a hot water bottle, heating pad, heated gel pack or bean bag to a specific place on the body.

Systemic heating means raising the entire body temperature with a bath or jacuzzi, steam bath, or piping hot shower basically creating an artificial fever!

For most local heating, I recommend seeking out a large-sized Thermophore, the Rolls Royce of heating pads: large, heavy, thick, and moist. Yes, moist they produce a moist heat with a special tightly-woven fleece blend cover which retains moisture from the air. If you leave a Thermophore on a plastic surface, there will be beads of water under it five minutes later. The moisture captured from the air by the Thermophore conducts heat far more effectively than a dry heating pad. Luxurious! Both genuine Thermophores and cheaper knock-offs can be ordered online from, and are also available in some medical supply stores. Of course, , too.

Hot And Cold Therapy For Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is when cartilage around your joints wears down over time, causing pain and stiffness. If this occurs in the knee, it usually affects both knees, unless its the result of an injury.

There is some evidence that immersing yourself first in hot water, then ice water, then alternating between the two several times is an effective treatment for this kind of pain and discomfort.

This method of alternating is thought to improve circulation, decrease swelling and relieve pain in an injury.

Massaging the knee with ice could also help with osteoarthritis by improving muscle strength, reducing pain and decreasing any swelling.

But the body of evidence available is limited, so more research is needed to find out just how effective heat or cold treatments are for a knee injury.

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When To Use Both Heat & Ice Called: Contrast Therapy

You can use ice and heat separately, or in some cases, together, which is known as contrast therapy. The key to contrast therapy is to start with heat and finish with ice. This has to do with the dilation and constriction of blood flow to the injured area.

You want to start with dilating the blood vessels with heat, followed by constriction of blood vessels with the ice. This works to create a pumping effect. which promotes healing of the area. Contrast therapy is generally used after the first 72 hours, before you start to apply heat on its own.

How To Use Ice And Heat For Carpal Tunnel Relief

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Cold Therapy When to Use IceTips for Ice TherapyApply IceHot TherapyWhen to Use HeatApply HeatAlternating Hot & ColdCold vs Heat

When used in combination with other treatment options, ice and heat for carpal tunnel syndrome can help control the pain and stiffness of the condition. Over time, this treatment can even speed recovery by increasing blood flow and loosening ligaments in the hand and wrist. Learn more about hot and cold therapy techniques in our comprehensive guides.

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How Is It Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine you. Tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Nerve conduction studies, which use small wires that are taped to your skin to send mild electric signals and check how well your nerves work to carry signals to your muscles

Your healthcare provider may refer you to a specialist for some tests.

Articles On Knee Pain

You can do many things to help knee pain, whether it’s due to a recent injury or arthritis you’ve had for years.

Follow these 11 dos and donâts to help your knees feel their best.

Donât rest too much. Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain. Find an exercise program that is safe for your knees and stick with it. If you’re not sure which motions are safe or how much you can do, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist.

Do exercise. Cardio exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching do, too. For cardio, some good choices include walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines. Tai chi may also help ease stiffness and improve balance.

Donât risk a fall. A painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause more knee damage. Curb your risk of falling by making sure your home is well lit, using handrails on staircases, and using a sturdy ladder or foot stool if you need to reach something from a high shelf.

Do use “RICE.” Rest, ice, compression, and elevation is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated.

Don’t overlook your weight. If you’re overweight, losing weight reduces the stress on your knee. You donât even need to get to your “ideal” weight. Smaller changes still make a difference.

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How To Apply Heat Therapy For Your Sciatica Symptoms

While it may seem logical to apply heat to the area where your sciatica feels worstlike the back of your thigh or your calf, these areas are not the source of your pain. Sciatic nerve pain originates from your rear pelvis and the lower back, and heat therapy works best when applied to this region.

Heat therapy is easily available, simple to use, and can provide immediate relief from the shooting sciatic nerve pain in your legread on to learn how.


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