Muscle and joint pain, as well as stiffness, can affect your activities and your life quality. However, there are a lot of therapies and natural remedies that promise you the best results. Lately, cold and heat therapies became very popular, and many people wonder which type is appropriate for their affection.
Cold therapy is applying cold compresses or even a bag of ice on the affected area, for about 10 minutes. It is important to say that ice should never be applied directly on the skin because it may cause frostbites. First, wrap the ice in a cotton towel, and then apply it on the affected area.
You can also use a cold gel pack if you have one, as it can cover the area perfectly. However, if you don’t have a bag of ice or a cold gel pack, grab a bag of frozen vegetables from your refrigerator.
No matter what you chose to use for this therapy, a bag of ice, frozen vegetables, cold gel pack, or anything else, take a 45-minute break after every 15 minutes of cold therapy.
This therapy is used for numbing the area and for relieving the pain. Cold therapy can stop bleeding because it slows down the blood flow. Moreover, it is efficient for inflammation and swollen areas.
- When to use it
Cold therapy can be successfully used in case of sprains, bruises, and strains. The therapy is more efficient if used soon after the injury. It will reduce the inflammation and the swollen area, and it will definitely relieve the pain. If you have a recent wound that bleeds, you can also use this therapy for reducing or stopping the bleeding.
This therapy is not recommended if you suffer from stiff muscles or joints.
Heat therapy means applying a warm compress or a heat source on the affected area. For this type of therapy, you can use a bottle of hot water, heating pad, damp towel, or a warm compress.
Just as in the case of cold therapy, you have to pay attention to the temperature, because if the temperature is too high, it can damage the tissue and provoke burns.
When applying the heat therapy, you have to use it for maximum 20 minutes, and then take a break. You can use it more only at your doctor’s recommendation.
There is one more type of heat therapy, namely systematic heat therapy. This type includes hot showers and sauna, because, during these processes, the whole body benefits from the heat.
This therapy is used for relieving joint and muscle pain and stiffness. It is successfully used in the case of muscle spasm, especially after a workout session. Heat therapy is also great for improving the mobility of ligaments and tendons.
- When to use It
It is recommended to use heat therapy when you suffer from chronic conditions, such as arthritis. If you usually have back or neck pain, you can also try this type of therapy. Muscle and joint stiffness can also be treated this way.
If you experienced muscle cramps after doing sport, it could be because of lactic acid build-up in the muscles. Heat therapy is also efficient in this case because it increases the blood flow and this will help your body to remove those lactic acid build-ups.