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When And How to use Hot and Cold Therapy?

When And How to use Hot and Cold Therapy?

Recovering and rehabbing from an injury requires the correct therapy course of action. It makes no sense to adopt a course of action that won’t benefit your injury, would it? Of course not, so the most logical step would be developing a rehab plan with your doctor or physical therapist that would benefit healing your malady as quickly as possible. One of the cornerstones of any rehab therapy is the use of heat or cold therapy to aid in your healing. You should always advise your medical professional, be it your doctor or your physical therapist, before starting any rehab or exercise program.

What Exactly Is Hot or Cold Therapy?

We’ve all heard “put a heating pad on” or “make sure you ice it” when it comes to making our common everyday injuries feel better. The question is do we fully understand what each type of therapy is and how it affects us? Heat and cold are the most common noninvasive type of passive therapy and are often used together. Heat/cold agents should always be used carefully since both can cause additional injury to surrounding skin if used inappropriately. Knowing when to use heat instead of cold (or vice versa) is the key component to successful therapy. The University of Rochester Medical Center states that a new injury can cause inflammation or swelling, therefore the use of cold therapy or ice will decrease the blood flow to the area and reduce any inflammation or swelling. If pain persists, heat therapy will return blood to the area and promote healing.

When to Use Heat Therapy?

What exactly does heat therapy do to help our bodies heal? The University of Rochester Medical Center maintains that heat increases blood flow by opening up blood vessels which in return supplies oxygen and nutrients to reduce pain and soothe sore muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The heat also reduces muscle spasms and can increase range of motion. There are predominately two types of heat that can be applied: dry and moist. Spine-health.com states that a dry heat may end up drying out the skin while a moist heat may penetrate deeper into sore and aching muscles. You should consult your doctor to determine which type of heat would best benefit you. It’s very important to make sure that you use heat therapy safely so as not to burn your skin. Any type of heated therapy aid should be wrapped in a thin towel and you should never lie on top of any type of heated element since you may fall asleep and accidentally burn your skin. Heat should never be used if there is swelling or if you have poor circulation or diabetes. Unless your doctor or physical therapist suggests, heat therapy should be for no longer than 20 minutes.

Top Five Heat Therapy Products

1. Conair Body Benefits Heated Massaging Seat Cushion

Conair Body Benefits Heated Massaging Seat Cushion features three powerful massage motors which provide soothing relief to upper back, lumbar region and thighs. It provides heat therapy option to provide soothing comfort for the back muscles and the strapping system fastens to almost any chair. Conair Body Benefits Heated Massaging Seat Cushion features easy-to-use remote hand control

Features of Conair Body Benefits Heated Massaging Seat Cushion

  • Hand control with low, medium, and high power settings with or without heat
  • Soft-cushioned design provides extra comfort and flexibility
  • Features cushioned lumbar area
  • Home adapter included
 

2. Battle Creek Good2GO Microwave Moist Cervical and Pelvic Heat Therapy Pad

Battle Creek Good2GO Microwave Moist Cervical and Pelvic Heat Therapy Pad is designed to wrap around the neck, jaw, sinus or any small joint for convenient, portable moist heat therapy. This microwavable heat pack contains a patented filling, composed of non-allergenic crystals that do not leak. A cozy deep-pile cover in a multi-ply design drives moist heat toward your body. Battle Creek Good2GO Microwave Moist Cervical and Pelvic Heat Therapy Pad is designed to wrap around small joints. It does not smell or support the formation of mold, fungus or mildew and there is no liquid to leak or dry out.

Features of Battle Creek Good2GO Microwave Moist Cervical and Pelvic Heat Therapy Pad

  • Non-organic crystals have a distinctive honey-combed surface to absorb up to 40% of their weight in atmospheric moisture
  • A couple of minutes in any microwave can quickly generate a comforting moist heat vapor for penetrating therapy
  • Held snugly in place with a wide elastic and velcro strap, heat is focused right where you need it most
  • Non-toxic, non-allergenic crystal filling will not decay or deteriorate
 

3. Battle Creek Good2GO Microwave Moist Heat Therapy Pad

Battle Creek Good2GO Microwave Moist Heat Therapy Pad fits a variety of uses for convenient, portable moist heat therapy. This pad helps relieve back or joint pain, whether it is caused by arthritis, injury or simple muscle strain and overuse. It contains a patented filling, composed of non-allergenic crystals that do not leak, and have a distinctive honey-combed surface to absorb atmospheric moisture. Battle Creek Good2GO Microwave Moist Heat Therapy Pad is held snugly in place with a wide elastic and velcro strap. A cozy deep-pile cover in a multi-ply design drives moist heat toward your body

Features of Battle Creek Good2GO Microwave Moist Heat Therapy Pad

  • Non-toxic, non-allergenic crystal filling will not decay or deteriorate
  • Does not smell or support the formation of mold, fungus or mildew and there is no liquid to leak or dry out
  • Cloud-soft high-quality fleece lining gently conforms to painful joints
  • Multi-ply outer fabric incorporates a vapor barrier to direct the maximum amount of moist heat toward the body
  • Hook and loop closure and wide elastic strap holds heat in place with gentle compression
 

4. Mabis DMI TheraBeads Microwaveable Moist Heat Therapy Aids

Mabis DMI TheraBeads Microwaveable Moist Heat Therapy Aids provide moist heat for maximum relief. Moist heat means maximum effectiveness and it is recommended for its deep penetrating qualities. They are designed to conform to any part of the body, producing a soft and snug fit. Require no soaking, boiling or electrical wires simply microwave according to the instructions and apply to the affected area. Mabis DMI TheraBeads Microwaveable Moist Heat Therapy Aids deliver uniform moist heat to help relieve soreness and stiffness

Features of Mabis DMI TheraBeads Microwaveable Moist Heat Therapy Aids

  • Used for arthritis, minor muscle aches, pains and sprains
  • Include a white, machine washable cover
  • Latex free and bright white color
 

5. Relief Pak Hot Button Reusable Instant Hot Compress

Relief Pak Hot Button Reusable Instant Hot Compress instantly becomes hot once the button inside the pack is activated. This pack remains hot for at least 30 minutes. This reusable pack can be recharged and made ready for a future activation by boiling it for approximately 10 minutes. The activation and recharging of a pad can be repeated at least 100 times. Relief Pak Hot Button Reusable Instant Hot Compress is a common non-toxic food additive and not harmful.

Features of Relief Pak Hot Button Reusable Instant Hot Compress

  • Activate pad by gently flexing disk within the pad back and forth until pad starts to crystalize
  • Pad will heat to approximately 13°F (54°C)
  • For cold pack refrigerate do not freeze
  • To return to liquid state wrap pad in cloth, place in boiling water for 5 to 12 minutes
  • Instant heat therapy without hot water or electricity
 

When to Use Cold Therapy?

Unlike heat therapy which promotes blood flow, cold therapy restricts blood flow and reduces inflammation and swelling. Cold therapy is a vasoconstrictor and is used right after an injury occurs and can continue for up to 48 hours. Much like heat therapy, cold therapy should only be applied for 10-20 minutes at a time. It can be removed for 10 minutes and then reapplied again. The most common source for cold therapy is ice or gel packs and should not be applied directly to the skin, but wrapped in a thin towel. As sportsmedicine.about.com points out, cold therapy can be used for athletes with chronic pain or an overuse injury. An example they use is a runner that experiences knee pain that increases after running may want to ice their knee after each run to reduce pain and swelling. The benefits of cold therapy are indisputable, so make sure you ice those injuries before applying any heat therapy.

Top Five Cold Therapy Products

1. Breg Polar WrapOn Cold Therapy Knee Pad

Breg Polar WrapOn Cold Therapy Knee Pad is designed to provide an even distribution of cold therapy throughout the entire pad. This unique pad incorporates elastic straps that wrap around the joint and affix to the foam-backed pad. Patient may attain additional compression to the joint by increasing the tension of the straps. Features three ultrasonically welded polyether or polyurethane sheets. Breg Polar Wrapon Cold Therapy Knee Pad is latex-free. Its ergonomic straps keep the pad in place and provide compression

Features of Polar WrapOn Knee Pad

  • Optimal Durability
  • Holds the pad firmly in place
  • Provide even cold therapy throughout the pad
  • Polar WrapOn Cold Therapy Knee Pad Features
 

2. Breg Polar Care Cube Knee Cold Therapy System

Breg Polar Care Cube Knee Cold Therapy System is simple and reliable, with easy to use, compact design that makes it great for clinic, hospital and home use. Proper use of Polar Care Cube requires an insulation barrier between the pad and the patient skin. With nothing more than an initial fill of a little ice and water, patients can enjoy from 6 to 8 hours of motorized cold therapy. Breg Polar Cube Cold Therapy System is indicated for conditions that need sustained cold therapy to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation.

Features of Breg Polar Care Cube Knee Cold Therapy System

  • Includes PC Cube and single-patient use WrapOn pad
  • Strong pump for optimal durability
  • High flow rate results in even pad temperature
  • Proven reliability and effectiveness
  • Provides motorized cold treatment for 6 - 8 hours
 

3. Breg Polar Care Kodiak Cold Therapy Unit

Breg Polar Care Kodiak Cold Therapy Unit is the most convenient and versatile unit that effectively treats post-operative pain and swelling. Depending on the patient-specific protocol, with the addition of a little ice and water patients can enjoy 6 to 8 hours of effortless motorized cold therapy. Polar Care Kodiak cold therapy delivers ice water through circulation pads specifically designed for different body parts that maximize the healing process. Customized Intelli- Flo pads provide temperature control specific to each treatment area resulting in superior coverage and comfort

Features of Breg Polar Care Kodiak Cold Therapy Unit

  • Easy to use with intuitive design
  • Advance technology for whisper quite performance
  • Robust motor for optimal durability
  • Superior filteration system prevent clogs
  • Lightweight, portable design is easy to carry, fill and use
  • Proven reliability and effectiveness
 

4. Breg Polar Care WrapOn Shoulder Pad

Breg Polar Care WrapOn Shoulder Pad has an ergonomic design that offers exceptional coverage and patient comfort. Its elastic straps offer static compression. It wrap around the joint and affix to the foam-backed pad. WrapOn Pads can be used with the Polar Care Glacier, Cube, and Cub. Proper use requires an insulation barrier between the pad and the skin of the patient. The water-impermeable sterile polar dressing provides a complete barrier between the pad and the skin of the patient.

Features of Breg Polar Care WrapOn Shoulder Pad

  • Easy-To-Use Design
  • Motorized Cold Therapy
  • Optimal Durability
  • Holds the pad firmly in place
  • Reliable & Safe
 

5. Polar Active Ice 3.0 Universal Cold Therapy System

Polar Active Ice 3.0 Universal Cold Therapy System is great for post-surgery and drug-free pain relief. The system uses a motorized pump to circulate cold water from a cooler to the desired body area, delivering localized cold therapy to the user either at home or during a hospital stay. The panel mount right angle coupling keeps the pump motor tighter to the cooler walls. This will stop the motor from flopping around in the cooler when emptying it. Universal Therapy Bladder can be applied to any part of the body that needs to be targeted cooling therapy

Features of Polar Active Ice 3.0 Universal Cold Therapy System

  • 9-quart cooler comes with an easy carrying handle
  • 15-quart cooler comes with wheels and retractable handle
  • Specifically designed for post-surgery, where serious pain relief is required
  • Easy to reuse; simply add ice and water to the cooler
  • High-flow, dry and quick disconnect couplings allow for freedom of movement if required
  • Cooler lid is hinged and snaps in place, keeping it properly sealed
 

 

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