Hot and cold pain-relief therapies are meant for joint and muscle pain. It all depends on whether the pain is recurring or new. Healing post an injury is painful and time taking process. There are several soothing practices to speed up healing but the simplest are the heat and cold therapies. Pain management at the comfort of your home starts with heat and cold therapy. It all depends on when the injury occurred. In case of swelling in new injury or experiencing acute pain. In case of chronic injury or if it is more than a day old, heat therapy is the apt one.
Cold Therapy minimizes Inflammation
Using ice on a fresh injury is common. Ice pack reduces swelling, redness and pain associated with the injury. However when done excessively it can compress local tissue and increase pain. Cold therapy slows down the blood vessel as well as reduces fluid buildup. If the swelling is controlled, the injury gets numbed.
Cold therapy or Cryotherapy relieves pain and even speeds up the recovery after a rigorous exercise.
When to use cold therapy?
Cold treatment should be used for 24- 48 hours post an injury. Cold therapy is best for strains, sprains, bruises and bumps which occur while lifting something heavy or in sports. The cold pack should be applied for not more than twenty minutes. Keep it away for ten minutes and then reapply again.
Heat Therapy fuels Blood Flow
Heat therapy increases the blood flow and soothes sore muscles. It is also known to relax muscle spasms in case of older injury. It relaxes your muscles and increases the flow of lactic acid. Lactic acid slows down where the blood flow has decreased but its removal is necessary for decreasing pain and improving range of motion. It also helps to get rid of body stiffness. It supplies oxygen and nutrients to relieve the pain and provide relaxation to ligaments, sore muscles and tendons. It also enhances the flexibility of muscles.
When to use heat therapy?
In case of stiff joints, joint pain or chronic muscles apply heat. Never apply to the skin directly, just wrap the hot device in a thin towel. Never apply for than 20 minutes unless otherwise prescribed by doctor.
In case you have diabetes. Never lie on a heating pad as there is a tendency to fall asleep and burn your skin.