Arthritis treatments are divided into symptom management or the attempt to cure. Heat and cold therapies have been used for hundreds of years to manage the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Heat tends to feel better but cold actually works more effectively on the physiology of pain. Cold numbs the skin and causes blood vessels to constrict. One cause of pain in arthritis is from fluid rushing into the joint. If the vessels are constricted, there is simply less fluid. It is important to be careful not to cause frost injury to the skin and that is why most practitioners will recommend 15 minutes of ice therapy only.