Hot or Cold Therapy
Hot or Cold Therapy? How to deal with Injuries.
A new injury will cause inflammation and swelling. When do we use hot or cold therapies to treat our injuries? This depends on whether the pain is new or recurring.
Heat Therapy / Thermotherapy
Heat opens up blood vessels and increases blood flow and oxygen to decrease pain in joints and muscle sores and spams, removing toxins from overworked muscles.
Heat is best for treating stiff joints or chronic muscle pain which is persistent. You can also apply heat to an ongoing injury before exercising.
Apply heat with a heating/gel pad, hot water bottle, or hot damp towel. The heat should be warm and maintained at a consistent temperature.
- Do not use heat on open wound. For swollen areas, apply when the swelling has lessened.
- Do not apply heat device directly to skin! Wrap device in hot towel to prevent burns.
- Do not apply heat for longer than 20 minutes.
- Do not use heat if you have poor circulation or diabetes.
Cold Therapy / Cyrotherapy
Cold therapy slows down blood flow to an injury, reducing inflammation, swelling, circulation and muscle pain in the affected area.
Use an ice / gel pack or even a bag of frozen vegetables for 24 to 48 hours on recent swollen or bruised areas. Cold treatment reduces post-exercise inflammation and is good for sprains, strains and bruises which may occur during sports.
- Wrap cold packs in thin towel before use.
- Do not apply cold packs to injured areas for longer than 20 minutes at a time as excessive
- Cold can cause tissue damage. Remove the cold pack for 10 minutes and reapply it again.
- Do not use ice in areas where you have circulation problems.