Hot packs and cold packs are among the most widely used treatments for back pain, inflammation, or injury. When should you use heat, and when is it beneficial to use cold?
Ice and Heat Packs
Should you experience pain or injury, you might have to cope with conflicting advice about how to treat it. Use heat or cold? Here’s information about how to use the right temperature in the healing process.
A cold pack is a block of ice or a gel-filled pack that is used to apply cold therapy to an injured area. Cold therapy helps to reduce pain and swelling by decreasing the blood flow to the area. It is often used in combination with other treatments, such as heat therapy or physical therapy.
When should you use a cold pack?
Ice treatment is generally used for acute injuries. If you recently experienced an injury (within the past 48 hours) where swelling is a problem, you should ice the affected area. Cold packs can help in swelling, reducing muscle spasms, and alleviating pain.
You can pack ice cubes in a plastic bag or in a wet towel. Frozen peas also make for a good ice pack. Simply wrap the frozen peas or corn in the towel, securing it with the elastic band. Apply the cold pack to the affected area for 20-30 minutes. You can also use a store-bought ice pack like Elastogel hot and cold packs.
Hot treatments are a great way to relieve pain and tension in the body. They can be used to help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and relax muscles. There are many different types of hot treatments, and they can be used for different purposes.
When should you use a hot pack?
The increased circulation of blood due to heat helps speed up the healing of injured tissue and loosen tight muscles, such as those with chronic cramps and arthritis. Warm packs can help relieve pain such as sprains, strain, muscle spasms, whiplash, and arthritis.
Heat therapy works by dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow. This helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to the cells in the area being treated, contributing to healing. Heat can increase the range of mobility and can help with pain management, muscle, and joint stiffness.
Don’t use cold or heat packs:
• Don’t apply cold or hot packs to areas with damaged skin.
• Do not use cold or heat pads over skin with bad sensation to either heat or cool.
• Avoid applying cold or heat pads to parts of the body with poor circulation.
• Do not expose yourself to cold or heat if you have diabetes.
• Avoid using cold or heat packs in the event that there is a risk of infection.