Cold Weather Arthritis and Post Op
Generally speaking, dry warm weather helps manage arthritis induced pain. Many people report arthritis flaring up when weather changes, due to temperature fluctuations, barometric pressure, and humidity. However, here is a number of ways that cold benefits arthritis and knee replacement recovery.
Contrast Temperature, Arthritis and Knee Replacement
Contrast baths generally decrease inflammation and swelling, by stimulating the small blood vessels in the affected area to expand and contract.
First. dip the affected limb in a container of ice water (about 50° to 60°F)
Second. move it to a second container of warm (but not hot) water. Suggested temperatures vary from 100° to 110°F
Repeat. back and forth for a duration of 20-30 minutes.
durations of both hot and cold should be adjusted based on preference. Although positive contrast temperature effects on arthritis, other than rheumatoid, may not be documented, that doesnt mean other inflamatory conditions that may not also benefit, so it makes sense to try and see for yourself.
Patients recovering from knee replacement surgery report best results from using saunas to do their range of motion, followed by icing the knee. This way the knee gets warmed up inside out, making the tendons more flexible, but does not swell from all the heat.
Cold Temperature, Arthritis and Knee Replacement
Although generally cold temperature effects on arthritis may be aggravating to the condition, some forms of arthritis may actually benefit from short burst of extreme cold temperatures. In Berlin, patients with rheumatoid arthritis experienced reduction in pain after a few 3 minute sessions inside a cold chamber set to -110C. Important to note that those patients also wore protective clothing for face, hands feet and other sensitive areas. In fact, its the hot saunas that havent been definitively linked to arthritis pain management. However, thanks to its lower heat, infra red sauna may offer the safest sauna exposure for people with arthritis.
Cryotherapy, or ice therapy, offers the following benefits immediately after knee replacement surgery:
1. slightly reduce the amount of blood loss and pain
2. improve the range of movement at the knee in the first one to two weeks after surgery
In summary, extended periods of exposure to temperature extremes, such as caused by climate or weather changes may cause problems. However, it seems, that in general, short bursts of hot or cold, or both hot and cold benefits arthrits and knee replacement range of motion.
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