Studies have found that different types of cold therapy can lead to positive outcomes for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia.
Two main types of cold therapy include cryotherapy that uses cold air or gas, and cold tub therapy using ice baths. Let's cover some of the research on both and which may be best for providing RA pain relief.
What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy has grown in popularity recently as a method for achieving the benefits of cold therapy.
Typically, a person stands in an enclosed chamber that surrounds their body with an opening for their head. The chamber drops the temperature to between negative 200–300°F, and typical session times in the ultra-low temperature air lasts between two and four minutes.
Studies on Cryotherapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis
In one study conducted in a group of forty RA patients, each person received ten days of different local cryotherapy treatments.
Two groups of patients were assessed, one treated with nitrogen vapor at –160°C and the other with cold airflow at –30°C. Similar clinical effects were observed in both of them—the severity of pain and morning stiffness improved significantly for patients in both groups.
Better yet, each treatment led to a significant decrease of Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α ) concentrations. It's important to note that one of the main therapies for RA involves TNF-α inhibitors.
Regulation of TNF-α has been demonstrated to have an extensive and undoubtedly important role in the treatment of RA. High levels of TNF-α found in RA patients appear to interfere with the suppressive function of regulatory T cells (T-regs), another crucial element of RA.
Cryotherapy May Not Be Best for RA Treatment
It's important to note that in another study in rats with adjuvant-induced arthritis, ice treatments were better tolerated and delivered positive effects on arthritis score and joint swelling.
Comparatively, cold gas treatments were found to induce transient arthritis worsening, indicating cold plunge tub forfibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis may be a better alternative for treatment.
What is Cold Water Therapy?
Cold Plunge for Fibromyalgia
More research is coming out all the time about how cold water immersion is an effective way to treat pain and inflammation.
Sports therapists and health clinics have been offering cold water therapy services for many years now to help promote healthy blood circulation, reduce high blood pressure, and boost the immune system of their clients.
Additional benefits of cold water therapy include improved function of blood vessels, shortened exercise recovery times, and rapid body temperature reduction after high-intensity workouts in the heat. Cold water therapy also helps people reduce the occurrence of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Cold therapy is now being studied for treating rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Cold tubs made for in-home use, such as cold plunge tubs, patients to treat their inflammation and pain anytime while also gaining the mental health benefits of an elevated mood and increased mindfulness.
For people dealing with chronic pain from RA or fibromyalgia, cold exposure therapy using a RENU cold tub is hard to beat when it comes to convenience and long-term benefits for the cost.
Types of Cold Water Therapy
Cold water therapy or cold bath therapy can be as simple as diving into frigid waters in the wintertime or as structured as a daily contrast therapy routine.
Some people even fill their bathtubs up with ice to gain the benefits of cold water therapy. One of the simplest yet most effective forms of cold water therapy is using a cold water immersion tub that was made right here in the United States.
Is Cold Water Therapy Appropriate for Treating Fibromyalgia?
Do ice baths help fibromyalgia?
Stats on Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis
While only 2% of adult Americans have fibromyalgia, it's far more common among those with rheumatoid arthritis.
Research indicates that somewhere between 10% to 20% of people with RA also suffer from fibromyalgia. Several factors may play a role in this link, which is still being studied to help find a more effective treatment of both.
What's the Link Between Fibromyalgia and RA?
RA is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system attacks healthy tissue in the body. In the case of RA, the healthy tissue is the joints, resulting in pain, swelling, and fatigue.
Conversely, fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease, but some of the symptoms are similar, such as pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
Currently, it's unclear what causes fibromyalgia, but one theory is that brain chemical imbalances could be causing a higher sensitivity to pain.
Is Cold Water Therapy Appropriate for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Cold water therapy can be helpful when an RA flares up, causing inflamed and swollen joints. Cold therapy works by constraining blood flow to joints, helping to ease inflammation.
Cold therapy also helps reduce the accumulation of fluids in joints, limiting swelling. Finally, cold therapy helps slow down pain signals to the brain.
Combined, these benefits can provide significant relief for people with RA or fibromyalgia.
Ice Baths for Skin Safety
Using ice cubes and cold packs directly on the skin can cause harm because of direct contact.
Cold water therapy sessions provide all the pain relief while actually benefiting the skin and cardiovascular system.
RA Pain Relief with a RENU Cold Therapy Tub
RENU makes cold therapy tubs for home use in the USA. Each tub is backed by industry-best warranty coverage and a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee!
RENU offers multiple cold plunge tub finishes and wood stains to perfectly complement your home's look.
Every cold water immersion therapy tub RENU makes features world-class designs that will enhance the beauty of your home while providing you pain relief whenever you need it.
Preparing for Your First Cold Plunge
It's essential to prepare your body before diving right in with regular cold plunge tub sessions. Taking a cold shower is one of the most effective ways to acclimate your body to cold plunge therapy.
Be sure to slowly work up to longer sessions and lower temperatures. By being mindful of safe cold water therapy fundamentals, you can enjoy years of safe cold therapy for rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia at home.
To get pain relief from RA and fibromyalgia at the convenience of your home, contact us at RENU Therapy today!