Both hot and cold therapies are a great, natural ways to help alleviate both acute and chronic pain. That being said, it is important to know which therapy works best for your particular injury and when is the right time to use it.
Cold therapy involves the use of ice packs or cold compresses to reduce swelling and restrict pain. It works by slowing down the cells metabolic rate, which reduces the amount of oxygen they consume. This reduces cell damage and decreases the amount of damage caused by bruising and inflammation. With less cells damaged, the body can recover faster. This type of therapy also numbs the nerve endings so that less pain is felt.
Use cold therapy for acute injuries:
- An injury first occurs such as a pulled muscle
- Arthritis flare ups
- Swollen joints
- 20 minutes each hour during the first 2 to 3 days of an injury
Heat therapy can be applied to a specific area or used throughout the whole body. Ways to apply it include hot water bottles, heating pads, hot damp towels, hot baths, saunas, steam baths and hot showers. The use of heat increases blood flow, releases toxins and relaxes tense muscles.
Use heat therapy for chronic injuries:
- Persistent and chronic pain
- Soreness and stiffness
- After the first few days of an acute injury
Heat and cold therapies are great ways to manage an injury or chronic problem between your appointments at Chiropractic Healing Centers. Dr. Cheree can guide you on which method is appropriate for your injury.