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Hot and cold therapy is an effective way of treating painful injuries, inflammation or stiffness of arthritic joints. Some injuries or pain may require only heat therapy, some only cold therapy while there may be some cases in which alternating heat and cold may be needed to increase the rate of blood flow to the area to promote healing. Hot and cold treatment may be provided through hot and cold therapy products which are developed to provide relief from different types of muscle or joint pain because of arthritis or injury. Heat therapy needs longer application time while cold therapy is needed for a limited time.
Heat helps the muscles relax and opens up the blood vessels thus increasing blood flow to the affected area. Application of heat soothes the muscles, heals the damaged tissue and brings down pain. Heat therapy can either be dry heat or moist heat. Dry heat therapy is given through large heating pads, dry heating packs and saunas. Moist heat therapy, which is slightly more effective, involves the use of steamed towels, hot baths and moist heating packs.
Applying heat therapy to an area of minor stiffness for 15-20 minutes can be effective. For moderate-to-severe pain, using warm bath from 30 minutes to two hours can help.
An injury causes accumulation of excess tissue fluid in the bruised area leading to swelling and inflammation. Ice treatment reduces blood flow to the injury cutting down inflammation and swelling. It also temporarily numbs the nerve activity in the area thereby reducing pain and brings down bleeding into the tissues.
If applied within 48 hours of an injury, cryotherapy or cold therapy is most effective. For best results, ice should be applied within 5-10 minutes of the injury for 20-30 minutes. This should be repeated every 2-3 hours for the next 1-2 days.
During recovery, if exercise has been advised then using a cold pack just before you start the routine will help numb the area and make you feel the pain less during the workout. You can even exercise with the ice pack on the injury.
Which therapy to use will depend on the injury and stage at which it is. Heat helps relax stiff muscles and joints while cold brings down inflammation and pain. If the injury or pain is acute and there is inflammation and swelling then cold therapy should be used. If there is muscle pain and stiffness, then heat therapy is effective. Heat therapy is generally used to treat chronic injuries and loosen tight, achy muscles and joints. Alternating heat and cold therapy is good for exercise-induced muscle pain. It also works for arthritic pains, using heat for joint stiffness and cold for pain and swelling. This increases the rate of blood flow to the injured area. Vasoconstriction by cold therapy is reversed on application of heat leading to an influx of blood to the damaged tissues.
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 the range of motion. It’s very important to make sure that you use heat therapy safely so as not to burn your skin. Heat should never be used if there is swelling or if you have poor circulation or diabetes. Consult your doctor or physical therapist on how long to do heat therapy. There are predominately two types of heat that can be applied: dry and moist. A dry heat may end up drying out the skin while a moist heat may penetrate deeper into sore and aching muscles.
Dry heat is easy to apply and includes sources like
Moist heat may be slightly more effective as well as require less application and includes sources like
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.
There are a number of different ways to apply cold therapy to an affected area. Treatment options include:
There are several types of hot/cold therapy systems that vary in features but all of them help deliver effective hot or cold therapy to provide drug-free pain relief. At Health Products For You, there is a vast selection of these items which provide an all-in-one system which combines heat therapy and cold therapy. On being heated, these products will deliver heat to the affected area and when used as a cold pack, the effect is comforting cold without any damage to the skin or nerves. With these hot and cold therapy systems you can treat sprains, strains, tendonitis, tight muscles, achy joints and nerve pain conditions and also find relief from diabetic symptoms.
Heat therapy can be applied using hot packs, electric heating pads, elasto-gel cervical collar, moist heat packs, warming gel mittens, bed warmers, etc. These products help alleviate stress and pain and relax your muscles. You will find various types of hot packs and pads, dispenser bottles, drying racks, tongs and more. For the young ones, the heel warmers from Medline will conform gently to the baby’s heels and activate instantly.
At Health Products For You, find cold packs and cold wraps that get activated immediately providing therapeutic relief from pain and sports injury. All types of cold therapy solutions are available including cold packs ( like FlexiKold Cold Pack ), gel packs and massage balls which activate instantly and offer patients a new level of comfort, conformability and effectiveness. These cold packs can be used to treat athletic injuries, arthritis, post-surgery pain, rehab and inflammatory disorders.
Cooling vests work on the premise of cold therapy which helps maintain your core body temperature and prevent sudden drops or rise. These products use active cooling technology, like battery or electrical-powered vests, or passive cooling technology, like gel packs. Cooling vests can also help counter the effects of exposure to a hot environment. You can wear them inside or over your regular clothes.
Avoid heat therapy on an open wound or on bruises and injuries.
Also those with vascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, dermatitis and deep vein thrombosis should not use heat therapy.
Avoid use of hot or cold packs on fragile skin, infected wounds, around the front or side of the neck and on areas with poor circulation.
People with heart conditions are advised against using ice packs on the left shoulder.
Extreme heat or ice should never be applied on the skin directly.
Most popular buys among hot and cold therapy products include:
Heat therapy improves blood circulation and soothes stiff joints. Cold Therapy helps to reduce inflammation and pain. At Health Products For You we offer a wide range of Hot and Cold Therapy Products such as Hot/Cold Therapy Systems, Cold Packs, Hot Packs, Chilling Units, Heating Units, Hot and Cold Therapy Accessories from top Manufacturers like Breg Incorporated, Polar Products, Fabrication Enterprises, Power Play. Shop Now!
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Hot and cold therapy can be helpful in back pain when hot pack and cold pack are used together. When there is rotation between each type of temperature the pain is likely to be reduced lowering inflammation and loosening muscles simultaneously.
In case of plantar fasciitis cold compression helps you to get inflammation and swelling down and this will also reduce the pain level to a great extent.
Hot and cold contrast therapy exerts a physiological effect on the body's pain gate mechanism when applied simultaneously, thereby temporarily altering pain signals traveling to and from the brain. This temporary reduction in pain is a great relief for people suffering long term complaints of the nervous and musculo-skeletal systems. Hot and cold contrast therapy can be applied locally on your skin using hot and cold packs.
Yes, Hot and cold therapy can help people with arthritis. It is best to soothe the stiff joints and tired muscles while reducing pain and inflammation to a great extent.
A hamstring strain must be treated with a cold treatment that helps stop internal bleeding in the damaged tissue and reducing swelling and inflammation.