When to Use Hot and Cold Therapy The human body is constantly pushed to its limit on a daily basis, whether it be via physical activity or lack thereof. With that being said, your body is prone to experiencing pain and injuries as a result of working itself too hard. It can be beneficial to have gel ice packs on hand in the event of an injury, but it can also be great to have hot packs. The main question is, when do you use cold packs and when do you use hot packs?
When to Use Hot Packs The main reason as to why people purchase hot packs is if they are experiencing soreness and pain within their muscles and their joints. There are many individuals who buy hot packs for stiff joints and chronic muscle pain. The reason as to why you may want to consider using hot packs is because it opens the blood vessels in the body, giving your blood more oxygen and nutrients to assist with the pain within the joints. They are equally as effective for muscles because heat helps to sooth ligaments and tendons, thus eliminating any pain in that area.
When to Use Cold Packs Cold packs can be quite useful and with the ample amount of companies offering custom ice packs, you can even have your own custom pain reliever. Cold therapy is a great way to isolate pain in regards to sprains, strains, and bruises as a result of a sports injury or any other type of physical injury. It is advised that when using cold therapy to only place it in the affected areas 20 minutes at a time to ensure that you do not freeze your skin. Cold packs are used to slow down the amount of blood flow to a particular injury and it help to reduce swelling and pain.
Using Hot and Cold Packs Safely Both hot packs and cold packs can be quite detrimental when not applied appropriately. You may want to consider wrapping the hot pack and/or cold pack in a towel or a cloth that is relatively thin so that you do not burn or freeze your skin but so that you can still feel the heat or cold. If you are able to avoid any negative sensations, you will be able to keep the pack on the affected area for a longer period of time, therefore giving you more pain relief.