When it comes to pain and injuries, we tend to reach for heat pads or ice packs. Knowing what is best can be be confusing. After today, you will be left in no doubt!
Whether you’re headed to the hospital or you have aching joints, you’ll want to pay attention to these tips and guides.
This graphic from Covet Dance shows you how different temperatures affect your body. Applying heat opens up blood vessels which causes muscles to relax and increase your range of motion. Cold, on the other hand, slows down your blood flow, which can slow down swelling, and numb the pain.
Now you can see why it makes sense to use ice after an injury, but using it to treat a tension headache would probably cause the headache to get worse by tightening up blood vessels. Interestingly the graphic above says, when in doubt use ice!
This info graphic from Cleveland Clinic recommends hot or cold treatments for specific types of pain. It can be a handy guide to have nearby when you or someone you’re with is in pain. It also has some great tips worth noting.
Treating injuries less than 6 weeks old requires ice while treating chronic pain from arthritis or injuries older than 6 weeks requires heat. This is because using heat on an older injury will speed up healing time by increasing blood flow to the area. It will also limber up the area so you can move more.
This infographic on hot vs cold therapy has some interesting stats and facts that are important to know. It points out that using cold therapy with compression can decrease your pain by up to 64%.
That’s a huge deal when you’re really hurting. It also points out some great suggestion for people needing physical therapy after an injury, and how hot and cold therapies can both be used.
Here are some more great guidelines and suggestions for using both therapies. Keep in mind that new injuries should always be treated with ice!
This quick guide sums up what the other guides above have told us. It also has some great tips that you should always keep in mind when icing an injury, or treating pain with heat:
- Use any sort of temperature therapy for no longer than 20-minute intervals, with a 20-minute break in-between.
- If you have low circulation in that area or are numb because of an injury, be extra sure to keep track of time so you don’t burn your skin.
- If you are using a heating blanket, ALWAYS turn it off before falling asleep to avoid overheating in your sleep.
- Once again, new injuries are best treated with ice, while older injuries and chronic pain are best treated with heat.
Now that you have learned what should be used when, it’s time to look at some ways that you can easily make your own treatments at home. This tip is from a Physio site and suggests that you use 1 part rubbing alcohol to 3 parts water.
This makes it get really cold but not hard enough that you can no longer manipulate it. This would be perfect for sprains.
Another easy tip is to freeze a saturated sponge in a bag. This will result in an icepack that won’t drip when it melts. You could also use this for your Esky to keep food and drinks cold.
Ice Vs Heat Video Tutorial
We have included this video from Goodful that gives you an excellent explanation of how to use ice and heat.
Click Play above to view now ^