May is Arthritis Awareness Month!
Nearly one-fourth of adults in the U.S. suffer from arthritis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Arthritis, which has symptoms that include swelling, pain, reduced range of motion and stiffness, is also the leading cause of work disability. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help soothe and rehabilitate affected areas.
Arthritis Causes and Symptoms
Arthritis is pain and inflammation that affects one or more joints in the body. The cause of arthritis can be simple or multifaceted. It can develop from natural wear and tear or due to autoimmune diseases, inflammatory conditions, or a combination of these factors. Risk factors also include previous joint injury, obesity, age, sex, and family history. There is currently no cure for arthritis, but fortunately it can be managed through physical therapy, medication and sometimes surgery.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis, but the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis mainly affects the hands, spine, hips, and knees, and is caused by wear and tear of the joint cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that mainly affects the hands, wrists, and knees. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule that encloses the joints.
Arthritis is painful. It can significantly affect a person’s quality of life and prevent them from performing routine activities. Arthritis that affects weight-bearing joints can make it difficult to walk or sit up straight. The associated pain and discomfort can limit the type of work that an individual can do or prevent them from working at all. According to the CDC, one in 10 adults are forced to limit their activities because of arthritis pain.
Treating Arthritis With Warm Compresses
Physical therapists may use heat therapy to alleviate arthritis pain.
Using a warm compress, like a moist heating pad or a melted paraffin wax, can help to relax stiff joints. Warm compresses are often used to treat chronic arthritis pain.
Relief Pak® HotSpot® Moist Heat Packs
Relief Pak® HotSpot® Moist Heat Packs are a simple way to apply moist heat to targeted areas. Moist heat, as opposed to dry heat, is more effective in deeper tissue heating and penetration.
To heat, simple warm it on a stove, in a microwave or in a heating unit like Relief Pak® Heating Units. Wrap a Relief Pak® cover or heavy towel around the pack and apply it to areas where you experience pain. It can also be used to treat bruises, sprains, muscle spasms, backaches, and stiff neck. When treatment is complete, store the pack for repeat use.
Relief Pak® HotSpot® Moist Heat Packs are available in 44 sizes and with different features to accommodate the user.
WaxWel® Parrafin Bath System
Paraffin baths are another way to help alleviate arthritis pain. The WaxWel® Paraffin Bath System is ideal for soothing the hands, wrists, elbows, feet, and ankles, and helps with dry, cracked skin. The unit warms to 125°-134° Fahrenheit and features an oversized tank to accommodate a man’s size 12.5 foot, so it can be used to treat most users.
The WaxWel® unit is heavy duty and designed for continuous use in high-traffic clinics, but it’s also lightweight and portable enough for home use. When you’ve finished with your treatment, simply wipe out the inside of the tub and dry it with a cloth or paper towel.
To learn more about Relief Pak® Moist Heat Packs, click here.
To learn more about the WaxWel® Paraffin Bath System, click here.
Article written by Danielle Renda.