Using hot and cold to treat pain can be extremely effective and easily affordable for a number of different conditions and injuries. The tricky part is to know what hot situations require, and what cold demands. Often both will be included in a single treatment.
Using ice for acute injury or discomfort, along with inflammation and swelling, as a general rule of thumb. Using heat relieve discomfort or stiffness of the muscle.
Known as cryotherapy, cold therapy works by restricting blood flow to a specific area that can significantly reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain, especially around a joint or tendon. It may temporarily reduce the function of the nerves, which may also ease pain.
How to apply
Use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or ice bath to the affected area. A frozen object should never be applied directly to the skin as it can cause skin and tissue damage. Apply cold medicine after an accident as soon as possible.
Using cold treatment, many times a day, for short periods of time. Ten to 15 minutes is perfect, and at the same time no more than 20 minutes of cold treatment should be used to prevent damage to the nerves, tissue and skin. For the best results, you should boost the affected area.
Due to increased temperature, heat therapy works by increasing circulation and blood flow to a specific area. Just marginally increasing the temperature of the affected area will soothe pain and improve the strength of the muscle. Heat therapy can relax and soothe muscles and heal tissue that has been damaged.
How to apply
In comparison to cold therapy, which needs to be minimal, heat therapy is often most effective when used for a good amount of time.
With just 15 to 20 minutes of heat therapy, mild pain or stress can often be relieved.
Moderate to severe pain may benefit from longer heat therapy sessions, such as warm baths, lasting 30 minutes to 2 hours.