Benefits of Moist Heat Therapy
- Soothes stiff joints making them more pliable and flexible
- Relaxes muscles, including relieving muscle spasms
- Reduces pain, the warmth can decrease pain signals to the brain
- Improves circulation (blood flow) to the area for healing damaged tissue
- Stimulates the production of joint fluid, warmth plus bending and flexing creates joint (synovial) fluid that keeps your joints lubricated
- Reduced risk of burns compared to dry heat, but you should still check your skin periodically during use and remove if you have discomfort
Why should I use moist heat?
Moist heat is a better choice if you’re concerned about skin hydration because won’t dehydrate your skin the way dry heat can. It also provides deeper heat into your skin and muscles to help relieve arthritis pain. Hydration improves your skin’s elasticity making moist heat a good choice for those with dry or aging skin.
Pain Relieving Heat Treatment Options
Moist Heat Pads
Moist heat pads offer soothing warmth to arthritic joints. Several options don’t require adding water, instead they pull moisture from the air, which means less work for you. You can use smaller sizes for your hands or bigger options to treat large areas like your back. Most need to be plugged in during use, so you’ll want to use this option when you have time to relax. Digital versions let you easily set the desired temperature and length of treatment.
Lounging in a hot tub can also provide nice heat while you soak. If you don’t have access to one, try a warm bath or shower. They’re especially great to ease morning stiffness. The ideal temperature is between 92 to 100 degrees. If you’re in a tub, aim for a 20 minute soak for the maximum effect. You can do gentle exercises in the tub, like rolling a tennis ball between your back and the tub, for a boost in flexibility that lasts even when you get out of the water. You could also see if there’s a warm water pool at your local community center or YMCA so you can do additional exercises.
Paraffin Wax Treatments
Paraffin wax is another moist heat option for arthritis pain relief. You dip your hands in warm wax multiple times and let it harden before sliding it off your skin. When the treatment is over, your hands or feet will not only have less pain, they’ll also be smooth and soft. You can use the paraffin bath at home to warm your joints. Refills often come in various scents so you can choose the one that you’ll enjoy. For a more economical choice, try paraffin gloves, mitts, or booties. Each one contains soothing paraffin wax, coconut oil, and lavender oil. Just heat in the microwave and enjoy four treatments from the reusable products.
Arthritis Foundation. (n.d.). Warm Water Works Wonders on Pain. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2FATGte
Medical Disclaimer: The information provided on this site, including text, graphics, images and other material, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.