Managing arthritis symptoms can literally be a huge pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 92 million Americans have arthritis or arthritis-like symptoms, such as pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased range of motion.
Arthritis treatments, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications and physical therapy, can do a lot to keep joint pain in check. Still, many people find that these treatment options aren’t enough, leaving them searching for complementary treatments for their arthritis symptoms.
So, are weighted blankets good for arthritis? Let’s start with the basics.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
As you might have already guessed, weighted blankets are heavier-than-normal blankets that make the user feel more relaxed and content. Once a tool used exclusively by occupational therapists, weighted blankets secured mainstream popularity in 2017 after the highly-successful launch of our best-selling Gravity Weighted Blanket. Ever since then, they have become a must-have gift for anyone dealing with symptoms related to anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, ADHD and countless other health conditions.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets use the power of “deep pressure stimulation” to simulate the feeling of being hugged or held. Gentle pressure, like that provided by a weighted blanket, reduces cortisol responses to psychological stress and promotes the production of feel-good hormones such as serotonin, which help the body relax and fall into a deeper sleep.
Weighted blankets come in a variety of weights, ranging from five to 30 pounds. For optimal results, most weighted blanket manufacturers recommend using a weighted blanket that is around 10 percent of the user’s body weight.
Are Weighted Blankets Good for Arthritis?
Potentially! It’s worth noting that there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, each with their own symptoms and treatment options. In other words, what works for rheumatoid arthritis may not work for osteoarthritis, and vice versa. But in general, weighted blankets show a great deal of promise for helping people with arthritis better manage joint pain, soreness and related symptoms.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential benefits of weighted blankets for arthritis and how using one can help you find some relief.
- Weighted Blankets Increase Relaxation – Did you know that stress and anxiety can amplify the perception of pain? In fact, it’s one of the reasons why rheumatologists often recommend deep breathing exercises and other stress-relieving techniques to their arthritis patients. To minimize arthritis flare-ups, try wrapping yourself in a cozy weighted throw blanket. The pressure from the blanket will decrease the stress hormone cortisol and slowly melt away your stress, making your pain seem more manageable. For additional stress relief, consider listening to music or practicing deep breathing as you snuggle in your weighted blanket.
- Weighted Blankets Promote a Restful Sleep – Arthritis and insomnia tend to go hand in hand. After all, it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when your joints feel achy and sore. In addition to alleviating pain perception and middle-of-the-night anxiety, weighted blankets stimulate the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, helping you fall into a deeper and more restorative sleep.
- Weighted Blankets Lift Your Mood – Depression is unfortunately common in people with arthritis. According to the Mayo Clinic, allowing depression to go unaddressed can make treating specific forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, even more difficult. Of course, therapy and medication are the gold standards for depression treatment. But if you’re looking for a natural way to lift your spirits, a weighted blanket can help. Similar to receiving a hug, weighted blankets trigger a surge of mood-boosting hormones — serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine — that make you happier.
- Weighted Blankets May Reduce the Perception of Pain – While there are currently no scientific studies on the use of weighted blankets for arthritis, there is emerging evidence that they can help with chronic pain, which many arthritis patients suffer from. In a randomized controlled trial published earlier this year, researchers studied the effects of a 15-pound weighted blanket on 94 adults with chronic pain. Their results showed that the weighted blanket significantly reduced perceptions of chronic pain in participants, particularly those who were feeling highly anxious.
- Weighted Blankets Act as a Reminder for Self-Care – Knowing your limits is an important part of managing your arthritis symptoms. If you overdo it, you could end up triggering an arthritis flare-up. Seeing a weighted blanket draped across your favorite armchair or couch can act as a reminder to slow down and get the rest you need.
Get the Relief You Need
If you’re looking for a complementary approach to managing your arthritis pain, a weighted blanket could be a great option. Weighted blankets can potentially reduce your pain and stress, all while giving you the best sleep of your life.
At Gravity Blankets, we have a wide range of high-quality weighted blankets, including our revolutionary cooling weighted blanket for hot sleepers. Shop our selection of weighted blankets today and experience the difference for yourself!