Many people who use heat therapy and cold therapy for treating pain and muscle aches are often unaware of the type of therapy that should be used for their pain. This can be problematic as the wrong treatment can cause additional painful problems.
So how do you know whether your pain calls for heat or cold?
What heat therapy and cold therapy are used for
The confusion that comes from treating pain with cold or heat therapy comes from the fact that the details change according to the type of pain. Typically, ice is considered necessary for treating fresh injuries such as a sprained ankle or a fractured arm.
Heat, on the other hand, is considered the tonic for aching muscles. However, the specifics of each treatment are where many Americans become confused. Consider the following:
When to use ice
Cold therapy such as the use of an ice pack is best used for injuries that are inflamed, swollen, or red. This helps to cool down body tissue and reduce the pain as a result of inflammation. You can use ice on pulled muscles, sprains, or along the jaw after wisdom teeth removal.
When to use heat
Heat therapy is best used for chronic pain, muscle aches, and stress. Up to 40% of American workers report that their job is extremely stressful, and that stress can often manifest as physical pain in the body. A microwavable heated back wrap, neck heat wrap, or shoulder heat wrap can help to take the edge off muscle stiffness, aches, and pains that may not have a clear cause.
Stress and chronic pain are renowned for causing muscle tension and anxiety. A microwavable heated back wrap can help to soothe and release the tense muscles and reduce pain in the trigger points. A microwavable heated back wrap can also help to make you feel comfortable, relaxed, and safe thereby reducing anxiety as well as muscle tension.
Heat therapy and cold therapy each have their own positive uses for muscle aches and pains. However, it’s important to know when to use each type of therapy. Heat can make inflammation worse and ice can cause tense muscles to tighten even more. If you’re experiencing muscle pain as a result of stress, consider using a microwavable heating pad, calling your physician, or exploring relaxation techniques.