The main thrust of hydrotherapy is to rid the body of the toxins that are thought to be causing the joint pain and inflammation. Hydrotherapy treatments are very helpful in managing chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In general, osteoarthritis patients get better results with moist, warm treatments, such as moist heat packs, than with dry applications, such as electric heating pads. Using a warm compress for 10 to 20 minutes every four hours helps relieve stiffness and dull, penetrating pain. Wading, swimming or exercising in a pool heated to 85°F can also be very effective. Make sure that the affected part of the body is immersed in the water.
To treat sharper, more intense pain, use a cold, wet compress or an ice pack wrapped in a plastic bag and placed over a towel on the skin. Use the cold treatment for 10 to 20 minutes every four hours.
Caution: Never use cold treatments for more than 20 minutes at a time, because they can damage the skin. If pain lessens after using cold treatments for a day or two, switch to hot compresses.
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