How Heat and Ice Therapy Works for Pain Relief

Heat and Cold Therapy

The application of heat and cold therapies for pain relief may seem contradictory. However, they work well with one another when used properly. Here is a detailed explanation of how heat and ice therapies work and how you can use them for best results.

How Does Ice Therapy Work?
Ice therapy is typically used for joint pain and acute pain including arthritis or a new injury causing inflammation. Ice therapy works by reducing the inflammation around an injury. When you sprain your finger or bump your knee, blood vessels swell around the area to provide padding against further environmental injuries. With this padding, however, comes pain.

Ice therapy works by constricting the blood vessels around the site of the injury. It also slows the flow of blood to the area. As the swelling goes down, you will experience less pain. This can be achieved by laying it on an ice pack wrapped in a dish towel as long as the towel is positioned right. You can also use Colpac reusable cold therapy by Chattanooga and BioFreeze.

How Does Heat Therapy Work?
Use heat therapy for injury to major muscle groups and chronic pain. Heat therapy works by increasing blood flow to loosen tight muscles and generally follows ice therapy. For example, shifting in a wrong way can cause an instant influx of sharp pain in your back. As the spine is chock full of nerve endings, you could feel excruciating back pain. Your body’s first response is to cause swelling around the area. Use heat therapy to counter the swelling.

Heat therapy speeds up the flow of blood cells in the body, loosening the muscles and affording you a better range of motion. For better results, use Therabeads Moist Heat Pack, or ActiveWrap, or Hydrocollator HotPac from Chattanooga.

Advantages of Heat and Ice Therapies
The advantage to heat and cold therapies is that one compliments the other as long as the ice is used first. Once the swelling goes down, the body’s response to joint pain is to tighten the muscles around the site of the injury. This is why a minor back injury hurts more the next morning than it did when it happened. First use ice in the morning, as it will bring down the inflammation which has been there all night. After a few hours, your back muscles will tighten drastically.

Newport Orthopedic Center offers heat and cold therapies based products that feature the latest technologies and are available in sizes designed to fit everybody.