Thursday, September 16, 2010

Paraffin Relief for Joint Pain

Image of paraffin granules found here. 

I love receiving comments and emails from other Sjoggies, especially when they contain some excellent suggestions for coping with Sjogren's syndrome. I hope that y'all don't mind when I yoink your thoughts and post them here.

The latest tidbits are from Stephanie:

My new GP gave me a couple of hot tips. He prescribed me physical therapy visits at my suggestion, as he agrees with me that the PT could help me with exercises, stretching, etc., that are specifically designed for sore joints; to ease the joints and strengthen surrounding muscles, which would take the strain off my joints.

The second hot tip he gave me was to buy (from Bed Bath & Beyond or similar store) a parafin wax soaking kit for your hands. The parafin wax is advertised to make your skin soft, but my doctor says it gets heat into your joints that you can't get from regular heat alone and is very soothing.

What good ideas. Many Sjoggies experience firsthand the discomforts of autoimmune-related joint pain. The benefits from expertise from a physical therapist in the management of joint pain is invaluable.  

NIAMS - the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases also mentions the beneficial use of paraffin as a means of delivering therapeutic heat to inflamed and painful joints in a really thorough discussion of rheumatic diseases:

Heat therapy increases blood flow, tolerance for pain, and flexibility. Heat therapy can involve treatment with paraffin wax, microwaves, ultrasound, or moist heat. Physical therapists are needed for some of these therapies, such as microwave or ultrasound therapy, but patients can apply moist heat themselves. Some ways to apply moist heat include placing warm towels or hot packs on the inflamed joint or taking a warm bath or shower.

Here's a link to Discovery Health's information regarding the use of commercially available paraffin baths. These applications are aimed more toward improving the physical appearance of skin, but the basic concepts are similar.

Paraffin wax baths are typically small tubs that are just large enough to submerge your hands or feet. The tubs are heat-producing appliances, so when paraffin wax is added to the tub, the wax melts into a warm liquid in which hands, feet or elbows can be immersed. Because paraffin wax has a low melting point of 125 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit -- which is slightly cooler than your average latte -- it's generally safe for extended skin immersion [source: Southwest Wax]

I would approach home-made paraffin bath methods with caution due to the potential for injury from burns if paraffin or the heating container is too hot, or danger of fire or combustion since paraffin is flammable. Never use paraffin or other moist heat applications on open sores or wounds. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

O_O !! I will try this this week. Witht the bad weather my hands are again painfull and I had to re-use my handwarmers. This tips will be on my to do list asap!