Sprains, stiffness, normal wear and tear are so common in our fast-paced lives that simple remedies at such times come pretty handy. So recently when I sprained my ankle, I was contemplating if I should hop towards the ice pack or grab a hot bottle, It occurred to me that is a dilemma you might have faced as well. Let’s read along to find your answer.
I know how confusing and agonising (if you apply the wrong treatment) it can be, some swear by ice whereas other love the heat therapy, and some of us go with whatever works. The truth is these therapies are cheap, simple and effective, so learning where to apply them correctly is a great skill. The modus operandi here is use ice pack on recent injury (occurred within last 48 hours) where you have swelling, and apply heat on stiff muscles. Let’s read in detail!
This type of treatment is best used on stiff muscles or when you have muscles pain. Also one should not use it on a recent injury but on an old one. What happens when you apply heat to such an area – the blood flows into that body part, releasing the muscle tension and providing relief from pain. With this form there is no time constraint, apply it for as long as you would feel comfortable with it, be careful not to burn yourself though. Key here is warm, not hot. Conditions like arthritis, headache due to neck spasms, tendinosis can benefit from this therapy.
This like we mentioned earlier, works best on recent swelled injuries. In such cases, there is inflammation, swelling, and pain. Here the cold compress constricts the blood vessels, hence reducing inflammation. Owing to reduced blood flow swelling goes down and hence the calming effect. Now ice packs, unlike heat packs, have to be applied for a maximum of 20-30 minutes at a time. Extending this period may cause damage to skin, nerve, and tissue. Athletic injury, sprains, strain of nerves are conditions which can be improved upon by applying this method.
Now ice packs can be used as gel packs, a bag of frozen peas, ice cubes wrapped in a wet cloth. Make sure to not directly apply ice to the affected area. For heat therapy, a hot bath, sauna, heat packs, hot towel, a hot water bottle can be used. Make sure to not apply it to any open wound.
When working with these therapies, make sure to apply them wisely, as heat pack in a recent injury can make the inflammation worse, and cold therapy on a stiff muscle can worsen the pain and restrict movement further.The combination is also used in some cases to bring something back to normal, just take care of the above-mentioned points and you should be okay to relieve your pain.
After reading this, I hope it would have been clear that ultimately what I hopped on to the other day to feel better.