If you suffer from arthritis pain, you’re not alone. As the leading cause of disability in America, it’s estimated that some 54 million people suffer from this disease of the joints. Although there’s no cure for this condition, the good news is that many arthritis sufferers can naturally manage symptoms right from the comfort of their own homes.
Before we dive into some of the most effective ways to manage your pain and treat symptoms, let’s take a look at what arthritis is and how you can determine if you have it.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis causes swelling and pain in one or more joints and is typically accompanied by stiffness. This condition, which normally worsens with age, can come in many forms, although the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and decreased range of motion.
But here’s the good news: there are a variety of ways you can ease your symptoms and manage pain. From maintaining a healthy weight and exercising to using herbal supplements and trying meditation, there are some really good natural treatments available to you.
Perhaps one of the easiest and most relaxing ways to manage your symptoms, however, is with daily hydrotherapy in your hot tub.
What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is immersion in warm water with the goal of easing pain. The Arthritis Foundation describes it as an effective way to treat the symptoms of arthritis, chronic back pain and fibromyalgia.
One of the best and easiest ways to enjoy this treatment is in your hot tub. While the heated water relaxes you, the jet massage provided by your spa has been associated with improvements in pain, stiffness, flexibility and overall joint function.
The Benefits of Hot Tub Hydrotherapy
Upon entering your spa, the water will reduce the force of gravity that compresses your joints. The water’s buoyancy supports sore limbs while the heat and massage allow more blood, oxygen and nutrients to flow to injured tissues.
Improved blood circulation can relieve muscle spasms and tense muscles while reducing swelling and inflammation.
You can also expect the positive results of regular hot tub hydrotherapy to last beyond your actual immersion time. Studies have found that those who soak in their spa for 20 minutes daily can expect prolonged pain relief.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Hot Tub
To maximize your hot tub hydrotherapy results, keep these helpful hints in mind:
Keep the Temperature Moderate
As tempting as it might be to crank your hot tub to its maximum temperature of 104°F, you won’t be doing your joints any favors. Studies have shown that warm rather than hot water is most beneficial to those with arthritis. The ideal hot tub temperature for easing joint pain is 100°F.
Aromatherapy, also known as essential oil therapy, helps promote relaxation while offering relief from stress and anxiety. Peppermint is one of the best essential oils for arthritis because it quickens circulation, bringing healing blood flow to sore muscles and joints. Lemon, lemongrass and chamomile are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Before using any aromatherapy products in your spa, be sure to ask your local dealer which products are compatible with your hot tub’s water care system. Whatever you do, don’t use essential oils in your hot tub. They can clog the filters, cause an imbalance in the water and lead to other problems.
Arthritis is known not only for the pain it causes but for limiting range of motion. One of the best ways to stay limber is by stretching in your hot tub.
The water warms your muscles and increases blood flow to your joints, enhancing your flexibility. Take advantage of that by adding some stretches that target the areas where you suffer. If you’re new to stretching, read on to learn some of the best moves to increase your range of motion.
Best Hot Tub Stretches for Joint Pain
Cat Stretch — This is one of the best moves to ease back pain because it stretches the muscles the entire length of your spine. Sitting with your back straight and shoulders back in your spa, rest your hands on your knees and then round your back. Hold each stretch for at least five seconds and repeat at least five times.
Figure 4 Stretch — Sit in your spa with one leg crossed over the other, your ankle resting on the opposite knee. Place your hand on your knee and lean forward from the hips, pressing on the crossed knee for a stretch through your hip and glute. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat three times on each side.
Calf Stretch — With one foot in front of the other and your front knee slightly bent, lean forward, keeping both feet planted firmly on the floor. Keep your back knee straight. Hold for 20-30 seconds on each side.
Ankle Circles — Sitting in your spa, raise one foot and draw 20 clockwise circles with your toes. Switch to the other foot and repeat. Once done, start again, this time doing counter-clockwise circles.
Shoulder Rolls — This move is a great way to loosen up your shoulders and neck. Roll forward 10 times and backward for another 10.
Wrist Flexor Stretch — Sit with good posture on your spa seat and hold your arm straight out with your palm facing up. Use your other hand to push the fingers of your outstretched hand down and back toward your body. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat three times with each arm.
Before beginning any type of stretching, get the OK from your doctor. They will be able to tell you what will work best for your condition.
Other Health Benefits
Aside from helping you to manage your arthritic pain, your hot tub can help you to sleep better, while also reducing stress and relieving muscle tension. It offers a natural boost to your immune system and can help flush toxins from your body, resulting in healthier skin.
With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder that so many people have turned to hot tub therapy to improve their health and wellness.
AJ Spa & Hot Tubs
If you’re ready to enjoy all of the benefits hot tub hydrotherapy has to offer, get in touch with us at AJ Spa & Hot Tubs. We can help you find the perfect spa for all of your pain management needs. If you want to learn more about the benefits of regular hot tub use, you can contact us here or drop in at our Patchogue, NY showroom to speak to one of our experts in person. Our staff is always on hand to answer questions or to walk you through the hot tub installation process for your home.