Hot vs. Cold Therapy
When you don't know much about physical therapy and sprains or buises you might end up wondering if the right way to go is hot or cold. Applying hot and cold compresses are a common type of therapy applied to muscle and joint pain due to injuries. Both are non-invasive pain relief methods and either of them is addictive. The question is when to use one or the other. A simple way to know is asking yourself the following:
- 24 to 48 hours after an injury
- Use ice packs or ice cubes in a bag.
- Don't apply it for more than 20 min.
- Remove the cold after 10 min then apply it again.
- In case of re-occurring pain
- Muscle spasms
- Stiff Joints
- Chronic muscle pain
- Apply it for no more than 20 minutes. (only a physical therapist can tell you if you can apply it for longer )
- You can apply dry or moist warmth but moist warmth will penetrate faster, better and will not dry your skin as dry heat.
- You may use a heating pad, gel packs, hot water bottle, microwaveable heating pads, electric heating pads.
- Don't burn yourself. Use heat that you can tolerate without burning yourself.
- DO NOT use heat if there is swelling in the injury or area.