The colder weather is upon us and many people have an increase in chronic joint or muscle pain. Are you using heat or rubs to treat your pain? If you find relief with these items it is important that you know how to use them safely.
A hot pack can provide pain relief to the chronic aching joints that accompany arthritis. Here are some tips on safe use of a heating pad.
• Do not sleep with a heating pad or you may get a burn.
• Only use a heating pad for 15-30 minutes per hour.
• Be extra careful if you are using a heating pad on an area of your body where you don’t have as much feeling and avoid heating numb areas. If you can’t feel the heat as strongly, you might not realize if
you burn yourself.
• Placing towels between the heating pad and your skin can help reduce the risk of burns.
• If you are using topical rubs and ointments like BenGay, only use after applying a heating pad.
• If you have an acute injury (one which is less than 3 days old), you should use ice instead of heat. Heat is appropriate for chronic injuries or pain more than 3 days old.
If you find that your chronic pain is limiting your normal functional activities, or if your acute injury doesn’t begin to get better with ice and rest, visit your local Physician or Physical Therapist.