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Archive for the ‘Cold Therapy’ Category

Ice Gel Pack

Ice Gel Pack

A Cochrane review abstract looked at the effectiveness of thermotherapy for treating knee osteoarthritis.  They looked at three randomized-controlled clinical trials that used hot or cold therapy to treat OA of the knee.

The main results were that ice massage had a statistically beneficial effect on range-of-motion, knee function, and knee strength.  Also, hot packs had no beneficial effect on swelling compared to cold therapy.  Cold packs were shown to reduce swelling.

Ice Pack

Ice Pack

Ice packs are an effective treatment option for knee osteoarthritis for several reasons.  Ice will decrease swelling in the knee.  Also, cold therapy will slow the release of chemicals within the body that cause pain and inflammation.  Cold also reduces that ability of nerve endings to conduct pain impulses.  Ice will also limit the ability of muscles to reduce spasms.

An ice pack wrap is an effective means of delivering cold therapy to an arthritic knee.

This is a continuation of our series on the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) recommendations for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis published in the Journal of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

Knee Therapy

Heat Therapy for Knee OA

Recommendation X

Some types of hot and cold therapy are effective at relieving symptoms in hip and knee osteoarthritis.

Hot and cold therapies are frequently used to treat symptoms in patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis.  They can include hot packs, cold packs, immersion in warm water, and ice massages.

Evidence supporting the use of these treatment options for knee osteoarthritis is limited.  One systematic review looked at two randomized controlled trials.  The results were that quadriceps strength was increased but the range of movement and walking was not effected in a statistically significant manner.

There have been no controlled trials with hot and cold therapy for patients with hip osteoarthritis.

The research team gave this osteoarthritis treatment option a Strength of Recommendation score of 64%.

W. Zhang Ph.D., Moskowitz M.D., et al. OARSI recommendations for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis, Part II: OARSI evidence-based, expert consensus guidelines. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. (2008) 16, 137-162.


Ice Your Arthritis

Often times physicians will recommend cold therapy to treat the pain and swelling  associated with knee osteoarthritis.  Something as simple as an ice pack wrap can make your stiff and swollen joints feel a lot better.

Ice packs reduce swelling by constricting blood vessels and decreasing fluid build-up.  They can be uncomfortable when first applied, but in a short matter of time they can numb the deep aches by reducing the ability of nerve endings to conduct impulses.

An ice pack knee wrap is a great treatment option for osteoarthritis because you can strap an ice pack to your knee, allowing a degree of mobility while icing.