The influence of heat and cold on the pain threshold in rheumatoid arthritis

Z Rheumatol. Sep-Oct 1993;52(5):289-91.


Superficial heat and cold are commonly used therapeutic methods in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Both procedures have analgesic effect. In 30 inpatients with rheumatoid arthritis the pain threshold was measured before and after warm bath and ice massage. Rheumatoid patients had significantly lower pain threshold compared to the healthy subjects in normal circumstances. Heat and cold remarkably raise the pain threshold right after the application. The pain threshold is also raised 10 and 30 min after cryotherapy, but not after the warm bath. Between investigated groups there were no statistically significant differences in the pain threshold values in any observed time. We consider that both methods have a reasonable place in the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / rehabilitation
  • Cryotherapy*
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Massage
  • Middle Aged
  • Nociceptors / physiopathology
  • Pain Threshold / physiology*
  • Thermoreceptors / physiopathology
  • Thermosensing / physiology*