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hot vs cold pack therapy, hot therapy, cold therapy

Heat it? or Ice it? This one is always a very confusing decision to make whenever the pain of strains, sprains, or cramps attack. Known as a good, cheap, safe, and simple injury recovery technique, the alternating ice and heat therapy is the best self-treatment for various painful problems. But, according to the science behind pain, there are few points that you should keep in mind before you just randomly ice or heat your injury as you wish. Let’s understand what are they.

Hot Therapy or Thermotherapy that involves the use of a hot water bottle, heating pads, or a warm bath and Cold Therapy or Cryotherapy that involves the use of a cold water bottle, ice pack or cool water bath, serve different purposes and hence must be applied on injury for pain-relief accordingly. Apart from this both, there is one called Therapeutic Contrasting – a technique of quickly changing tissue temperature from hot to cold and back again which helps in increasing the blood flow to the injury site, fairly well and thus providing you instant relief. So, here’s all about hot and cold therapy and a super therapy and how and when to use them.

Hot Therapy
Heat Therapy. hot pack therapy
Chronic pain, sore joints, muscle cramps or stiffness, if any of these things is troubling you, heat treatment will be of a great help. Applying heat to such stressed areas will dilate the blood vessels, promote blood flow, and help sore and tightened muscles relax. The increased blood circulation will help eliminate the buildup of lactic acid waste that occurs after some types of exercise.

When To Use?
You can use heat for arthritis, pain due to strains and sprains, chronic irritation and stiffness in the tendons, stiff muscles or tissues, neck spasms, back injury etc.

How To Use?
Dry heat can be applied for up to 8 hours while moist heat only needs 2 hours of an application as it acts fast. Normally heat should be kept for 20 min on the affected area up to 3 times a day. Wraps or patches can be used continuously for up to 8 hours. However, the effectiveness of heat treatment may depend on the depth of the tissue affected by the pain or injury.

When Not To Use?
If your injury is already hot i.e. you have got a burn or if you have a fresh injury or an open wound, an infection, high blood pressure or heart disease.

Cold Therapy
Cold pack therapy
Swollen or inflamed joints or muscles should be immediately treated with ice therapy. Now you may ask how can ice reduce inflammation? Application of ice can help reduce the blood flow to an injured area, thus slowing the rate of inflammation and lowering the risk of swelling and tissue damage.

When To Use?
Ice therapy is best effective if used within 48 hours of an injury. You can use it as a local anaesthetic to numb sore tissues and slow down the pain messages being transmitted to the brain. Apply ice for pain related to sciatica, arthritis, recent injury, gout, strains etc.

How To Use?
Cold therapy in any form should be applied to the inflamed area for 20 minutes, every 4 to 6 hours, for 3 days. Massage the area gently in a circular motion to avoid ice burn. Never use ice directly onto the skin. If you are out of ice, you can make a cold compress using frozen vegetables in a plastic bag.

When Not To Use?
If the body is already cold or the affected area is already numb, keep ice away. Never apply ice immediately before activity, on an open wound, blistered skin or on a person who is hypersensitive to cold.

physiotherapy machine
Heat or ice for pain can only reduce its severity to some extent and not repair tissues. And if the pain is chronic, they may even fail to ease your pain restlessness while Physiotherapy is a savior. It improves circulation, repair tissues, strengthens muscles, and promote bone growth even leading to improvements in physical functioning. The electrical stimulation that occurs using it, will block transmission of pain signals along nerves as well as promote the release of endorphins, the natural painkillers produced by the body.

When To Use?
Physiotherapy Equipment is advisable for almost all types of chronic pain and fatigues and is known as the best side effect free option today as it is natural therapy.

How To Use?
A lot of different types of Physiotherapy Machine are in demand today which are handy and can be self-operated at home/office/anywhere.