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arthritis

How Can a Compression Wrap Help with Arthritis?

Posted on August 05, 2016 by Thomas Parker, MD

A Background on Arthritis

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is also called degenerative arthritis.  It becomes much more common as we get older and can cause pain graded from mild to severe.  Other common types of arthritis are inflammatory, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or post traumatic.  No matter the type of arthritis, they all share a common symptom —pain.  Arthritis may involve any joint in the body but commonly the spine, hips, knees, and smaller joints are affected by inflammatory arthritis.

Pain from arthritis can be disabling because of severity or less intrusive if very mild intensity.  Medical efforts are designed to reduce arthritis pain, thus all the television advertisements you see for arthritis pain relievers.  However, physicians have found the use of compression to be a conservative method by which pain can be reduced.

Dr. Fields Arthritis.png 

Multiple Ways a Wrap Can Help

A compression wrap works in many ways to reduce pain and provide relief:

1.) A good wrap provides comfortable compression as well as support when pulled in all directions, such as when the knee is flexed and extended.  This support helps unburden the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments.

2.) Compression also increases proprioception (the concept of knowing where your body is in space and the ability to safely maneuver around your environment) and helps control swelling.  

3.) Many arthritis sufferers also find that while cold temperature causes an increase in joint pain, preservation of the body’s warmth actually helps reduce pain.  Body Helix compression sleeves provide warmth to the surrounding area and are the most comfortable compression products available.  They provide pain relief with the benefits mentioned above.

Getting the Most from Your Wrap

Arthritis Infographic Download CTA (1).pngChoosing the right wrap and using it properly can help you get the most out of your compression wrap.  Compression wraps have been advised for acute injury management and arthritis pain management since the 1960’s.   Unfortunately, some manufacturers in the industry have fallen behind and have not kept up with available technology. Therefore, it’s important to do your research and find the best compression wrap available.

Features to look for with compression products include comfort, adherence, so that once in place it stays in place, and persistence of compression.  The makers of Body Helix products have developed Form-Fit Technology, which consists of comfortable, uniform medical-grade compression in the range of 20-30 millimeters of mercury (or mmHg in the scientific community.) The higher the number, the more pressure we feel. Twenty to 30 mmHg is the first range of medical grade compression and has scientific evidence documenting increased blood flow and the benefits of compression.

Alternatively, features to avoid include:

  1. Constricting bands
  2. Less flexibility than the involved joint
  3. Restriction of compression to only one plane
  4. Risk for bacterial overgrowth and unpleasant aroma.

Most compression products “fatigue,” which means that with use the amount of compression declines and the benefit is lost. Look for a product that does not absorb sweat and avoid open cell Neoprene.  Additionally, please be advised that there is no scientific evidence to support that copper is beneficial.  Consider Body Helix products to satisfy the best features of a compression wrap.

Supporting Your Wrap as It Supports You

Even as your compression wrap supports you, you can additionally help yourself with some simple remedies for arthritis. (Please be sure to ask your doctor for specific instructions and before trying anything new).  You can ice your troublesome joints after exercising, since ice may reduce pain and inflammation.

Another strategy is to perform targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joint and to reduce any muscle imbalances. The result can be less strain on the arthritic areas. Losing weight if you have extra pounds can be another good way to reduce pressure on the joint and allow it to rest and recover.

Arthritis can cramp your style, but you don’t have to let it stop you from being active. A high quality compression wrap can go a long way towards providing relief and letting you continue with the activities you love.  If you have any questions about choosing the right compression wrap for your needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Thomas Parker, MD

Thomas Parker, MD

About the Author: Thomas E. Parker, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Body Helix, is a retired physician, with a practice specialty of Internal Medicine. He attended The Ohio State University College of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at Duke University Medical Center. Parker received the distinction of “Top Doctor” in Charlotte Magazine in 2011, 2012, and 2014. In 2008, Parker became involved in Body Helix as a founding member and Chief Science Officer with the responsibility of overseeing product development, safety and guiding marketing materials to reflect scientifically accurate claims.

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