Muscle and joint pain are treated in different ways depending on the injury or pain. Doctors often suggest going with therapies to relieve chronic pain/rigid muscle injuries. There are two types of therapies that are given to the patients on the basis of the condition they are suffering from. The appropriate use of hot and cold therapy can result in relief from pain, heal swelling, and restore the injuries faster than it normally takes for recovery. You will get to know about them further in the article.
What is Hot Therapy?
Hot therapy, generally known as thermotherapy, is the use of Hot in treating problems such as muscle relaxation, painful joints, chronic pain, and injuries in deep tissues, and so on. Hot therapy is to be provided with various tools like hot water bottle, Heating pad, cordless hot wraps, steam bath, etc.
When to use hot therapy?
Hot therapy is made to cure chronic pains, loosen tissues, stimulate blood circulation, sore muscles & joints, etc. Do not use hot therapy to relieve fresh & immediate injuries. Hot therapy is beneficial for muscle spasms (contractions of muscles), myalgia (soreness & sharp pain in muscles), stiff tissues/muscles, bursitis (inflammation on joints), and other various health conditions.
One should not use hot therapy on the swelling part as swelling is caused when a tissue bleeds, therefore, Hot can pull more blood to the area.
What is Cold Therapy?
Cold therapy, generally known as Cryotherapy, is the use of cold for healing many medical injuries such as muscle pain, sprains, and swelling. The Cold therapy is provided with various techniques like cold bath, ice cubes, coolant sprays, cold compress, and frozen gel packs. Cold therapy is most often used at home to treat pain and swollen knee or ankle. The injuries caused in sports or during exercises are treated with cold therapies.
When to use Cold Therapy?
It is really crucial to know situations for the application of hot or cold therapy. Cold therapy is very helpful in the healing of acute injuries or pains with swelling and inflammation. Acute injuries can be such as sprained ankles, muscle tears, and inflammation on the affected area; cold therapy can aid to heal these. Cold therapy can be harmful to rigid/stiff muscles or joints.
The cold therapy compresses the blood vessels and lowers the blood circulation. The reduced blood circulation limits the amount of fluid collected around the injury which results in minimizing the swelling. The hot therapy expands while the cold therapy results in the contraction of muscles. So, it should be in use accordingly.
Use of hot or cold therapy safely
Hot and Cold therapy products should be used safely as they can also cause harm to the body. Hot increases the blood circulation and expands the blood vessels. Whereas cold is used to slow the blood circulation and which compresses blood vessels. Sometimes both are used orderly; for sprained ankles which caused swelling, we first apply ice to reduce the swelling and pain for few days. And then should apply Hot to increase the blood circulation for further healing.
Whenever applying any of the therapy; it is safer to use an intermediate (like cloth, specific paper cover) between the hot or cold resources to prevent any sort of injury. As a preventive measure one can keep a check the affected area; like while applying hot therapy look for any burn or redness and if you are using cold, look for any unusual cold, pain skin, or cyanosis. Cyanosis is the bluish color of the skin caused due to contracted blood vessels.
An inappropriate use of any of the therapy can be harmful and can lead to damage of tissues. However, health care professionals apply hot and cold therapy products differently; they require special tools and care to use them properly and safely.