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When should you call a doctor about heat or ice treatment?

ANSWER

Call your doctor if you notice any of the following signs after removing the compress. These symptoms mean the temperature was too extreme and may have caused skin damage:

  • Skin that’s purplish-red, dark red, or a spotty red and white color
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Blisters

SOURCES:

Arthritis Today: "5 Steps to Pain Relief," “Using Heat and Cold for Pain Relief.”

Johns Hopkins Rheumatology: "Rehabilitation Management of RA."

Beck, M. , 5th ed. Milady, 2010. Theory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage

Arthritis Foundation: "Pain Center: Use Heat and Cold."

Cleveland Clinic: "Occupational and Physical Therapy for Arthritis."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Handout on Health: Back Pain."

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "Low Back Pain Fact Sheet."

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on May 30, 2019

SOURCES:

Arthritis Today: "5 Steps to Pain Relief," “Using Heat and Cold for Pain Relief.”

Johns Hopkins Rheumatology: "Rehabilitation Management of RA."

Beck, M. , 5th ed. Milady, 2010. Theory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage

Arthritis Foundation: "Pain Center: Use Heat and Cold."

Cleveland Clinic: "Occupational and Physical Therapy for Arthritis."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Handout on Health: Back Pain."

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "Low Back Pain Fact Sheet."

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on May 30, 2019

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What is hydrotherapy?

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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.