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How do heat and cold help arthritis pain?

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Heat or cold therapy works by stimulating your body's own healing. Heat widens the blood vessels, stimulates blood circulation, and reduces muscle spasms. In addition, heat alters the sensation of pain.

Cold compresses reduce swelling by constricting blood vessels. While cold packs may be uncomfortable at first, they can numb deep pain.

SOURCES:

Arthritis Foundation: "Use Heat and Cold."

American College of Rheumatology: "Back Pain."

American Physical Therapy Association: "What You Need to Know About Arthritis."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases: "Back Pain."

McIlwain, H. and Bruce, D. Marlowe, 2007. A Diet for a Pain-Free Life,

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on November 19, 2017

SOURCES:

Arthritis Foundation: "Use Heat and Cold."

American College of Rheumatology: "Back Pain."

American Physical Therapy Association: "What You Need to Know About Arthritis."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases: "Back Pain."

McIlwain, H. and Bruce, D. Marlowe, 2007. A Diet for a Pain-Free Life,

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on November 19, 2017

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How does cold therapy help arthritis pain?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.