Relieving Pain: Hot or Cold?
In the daily life of a physiotherapist and osteopath, many of you ask this question. The main goal is to relieve pain. By using either ice or hot you can do a lot of good to relieve the pain. The Ice pack or hot pack can help reduce bleeding, inflammation, swelling, muscle contractures or pain from an injury or accident. They can also speed healing and recovery of injuries.
Here are some explanations for when to put hot or cold to relieve pain?
Relieving Pain: Why Put Ice Or Ice Pack?
The objective of ice is to reduce the temperature and blood flow. Thus, it helps to fight against the inflammatory phenomenon. Inflammation increases with heat, redness and swelling most of the time. After an accident, it is useful to put ice or use an ice pack to relieve the pain. As long as the area swells and hurts, you should continue to use the coldest ice pack (often for 3 to 5 days).
Relieving Pain – Knee Pain
Practically, it is very simple. The goal is to decrease blood flow on that area and to lower the inflammation. Therefore, use ice for 20 minutes every two hours. No need to ice every night once a day. If you are at work, ice in the morning for breakfast and then twice in the evening (on your way home from work and then just before bedtime). In addition to ice, rest and elevate the area if swelling occurs.
You can use gel bags, ice cubes, etc … It does not matter, as long as it’s very cold. Put a cloth between your skin and the cold so as not to burn the skin. However, it is recommended that the use coldest ice pack is convenient to relief the pain.
Relieving pain: when should I put hot?
The hot therapy, conversely, promotes blood flow. The blood circulates better. Unlike ice, do not apply heat to a hot, swollen area. You will increase the swelling and the pain. This will increase your repair time …
Concrete example: you have a neck problem after your day’s work. The muscle is painful. There is no swelling or bleeding because there was no accident. It’s muscle contracture that hurts. It means the blood circulation is slow in this area. It is necessary to use hot to vascularize the muscle! If you use ice to relieve pain, your muscle will contract even more. So you will have even more pain!
I advise you to buy a hot water bottle or a gel bag (which is often hot or cold).
Things to Remember to Relieve Pain
Now, I summarize the good reflexes to have to relieve pain with either hot or cold:
- the painful area is swollen, hot and even red. It means that there is inflammation. I put ice pack. This is the case after an accident, shock or injury.
- The pain area is not inflated; there was no shock or accident. The muscle is hard, so I put hot!
Relieving pain with ice or hot is easy and better. It’s much better for your body than taking a medicine. As it will make your liver happy (because it filters and eliminates drugs)!
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NB: After 3 to 5 days of cold treatment after an accident or an injury, the researchers recommend alternating the heat treatment with the cold treatment to relieve pain and recover better. By juggling between hot or cold, you have to prelaunch the bloodstream, like a pump. During the heat treatment, the blood vessels spread out and increase circulation. The increased blood circulation brings all the necessary help to treat the zone. The cold ice pack will increase the effect of Relieving pain.