How to Use Heat and Cold Therapy for Psoriatic Arthritis Pain

By Beth W. Orenstein
Reviewed by Ethan T. Craig, M.D.
February 08, 2023

Applying heat or cold to swollen, achy, painful, and inflamed joints from psoriatic arthritis can often help provide some temporary relief. Each option works slightly differently to help relieve pain, so knowing which one to reach for can be important. If you’re looking for ways to make the most of your pain relief, here’s what to know.

When to Choose Heat or Cold

When it comes to relieving pain from psoriatic arthritis, heat and cold have different effects. So, the one you choose to use may depend on the type of pain you’re experiencing, says Alexis Ogdie-Beatty, M.D., a board-certified rheumatologist and the director of the Penn Psoriatic Arthritis Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania.

“In general, people whose joints are really inflamed and swollen will find ice to be more beneficial,” she says. That’s because cooling the area can help reduce blood flow and decrease swelling and inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic.