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May 14, 2022 at 12:37 am #3623Kanyinsola Arojojoye
Cold treatment reduces blood flow to an injured area. This slows the rate of inflammation and reduces the risk of swelling and tissue damage. It also numbs sore tissues, acting as a local anesthetic, and slows down the pain messages being transmitted to the brain. Ice can help treat a swollen and inflamed joint or muscle. It is most effective within 48 hours of an injury.
Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) are part of the standard treatment for sports injuries.
A cold compress can be made by filling a plastic bag with frozen vegetables or ice and wrapping it in a dry cloth.
Some ways of using cold therapy include:
- a cold compress or a chemical cold pack applied to the inflamed area for 20 minutes, every 4 to 6 hours, for 3 days. Cold compresses are available for purchase online.
- immersion or soaking in cold, but not freezing, water
- massaging the area with an ice cube or an ice pack in a circular motion from two to five times a day, for a maximum of 5 minutes, to avoid an ice burn
In the case of an ice massage, ice can be applied directly to the skin, because it does not stay in one place.
*Note that ice should not normally be applied directly to the skin
Cold treatment can help in cases of:
- a recent injury
- tendinitis, or irritation in the tendons following activity
- A cold mask or wrap around the forehead may help reduce the pain of a migraine.
For osteoarthritis, patients are advised to use an ice massage or apply a cold pad 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off.
When not to use ice
Cold is not suitable if:
- there is a risk of cramping, as cold can make this worse
- the person is already cold or the area is already numb
- there is an open wound or blistered skin
- the person has some kind of vascular disease or injury, or sympathetic dysfunction, in which a nerve disorder affects blood flow
- the person is hypersensitive to cold
Applying heat to an inflamed area will dilate the blood vessels, promote blood flow, and help sore and tightened muscles relax. Improved circulation can help eliminate the buildup of lactic acid waste occurs after some types of exercise. Heat is also psychologically reassuring, which can enhance its analgesic properties.
Heat therapy is usually more effective than cold at treating chronic muscle pain or sore joints caused by arthritis.
Heat therapy can be use:
- strains and sprains
- tendonitis, or chronic irritation and stiffness in the tendons
- warming up stiff muscles or tissue before activity
- relieving pain or spasms relating to neck or back injury, including the lower back.
When not to use heat therapy
Heat is not suitable for all injury types. Any injury that is already hot will not benefit from further warming. These include infections, burns, or fresh injuries.
Heat should not be used if:
- the skin is hot, red or inflamed
- the person has dermatitis or an open wound
- the area is numb
- the person may be insensitive to heat due to peripheral neuropathy or a similar condition
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