At-Home Treatments for Raynaud’s Phenomenon
What is Raynaud’s phenomenon? (Header 1)
Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition in which blood flow to the small blood vessels in the fingers or toes is reduced in response to cold or stress. Although less common, blood vessels in other areas of the body, such as the nose, ears, or knees, can also be affected. During a Raynaud’s attack, affected areas typically feel cold, numb, and turn pale, white, or blue. As the blood vessels relax, the area may become red, swollen, or painful.
In many cases, treatment for Raynaud’s phenomenon involves avoiding triggers and modifying lifestyle choices. At-home treatments include protection from cold temperatures, stress management, and other lifestyle modifications.
Protection from cold temperatures
Raynaud’s attacks are commonly triggered by exposure to cold. Tips to help prevent attacks triggered by cold temperatures include the following:
- Avoid or limit exposure to cold temperatures
- Wear gloves, socks, scarf, and hat when exposure to cold can’t be avoided
- Avoid going barefoot
- Avoid touching cold objects
- Use a beverage holder for cold drinks
- Wear oven mitts when reaching into a refrigerator or freezer
- Wear wicking fabrics to move sweat away from the body
- Keep gloves readily available in pockets or a handy location (e.g., next to the refrigerator or freezer, by windows and doors, in the basement, etc.)
- Soak hands in warm water at the first signs of an attack
- Keep hand warmers in coat pockets
In addition to cold temperatures, stress can also trigger episodes of Raynaud’s phenomenon. It can be helpful to be able to practice stress management to limit the amount of attacks. Stress management activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Physical activity
- Sleep hygiene
- Healthy social connections
- Creative outlets/hobbies
Avoiding nicotine is good for overall health. Cigarette smoking or using any product with nicotine constricts blood vessels, which can cause Raynaud’s attacks.
Physical activity boosts circulation, which helps prevent attacks. A health care provider should be consulted before engaging in any new form of physical activity in cold temperatures.
Other lifestyle changes
- Avoid use of vibrating tools, such as jackhammers
- Avoid caffeine use
- Wear bandages/finger guards over fingers with sores