Hot or Cold Press: Which Actually Help With Pain and Body Aches

Hot or Cold Press: Which Actually Help With Pain and Body Aches

Cryotherapy is the scientific name for treatment with cold presses on an area of injury. While thermotherapy is the scientific name for treatment with a hot press. You can get either of these treatments from physical therapy in Northfield. Your doctor or physical therapist may also instruct you on cryotherapy or thermotherapy at home. Each can be helpful under certain circumstances, but neither is appropriate for every situation.

How Do Cold/Hot Presses Work?

As anyone who has trained for physical therapy jobs NJ can tell you, ice and cold temperatures cause the blood vessels to constrict. This cuts down the flow of blood to the affected area, decreasing swelling and inflammation. By cooling the nerve endings in the skin, icing the area also helps to numb the pain so that it is more bearable.

Exposure to hot or warm pressures has the opposite effect. It causes the blood vessels to dilate, bringing more blood flow to the area. This causes the affected area to become warm to the touch, and it may appear redder in color compared to the surrounding skin. It also causes the muscles in the area to relax, and the release of muscle tension can help relieve pain. The increased blood flow brings more nutrients to the cells of the soft tissues, which helps to promote healing.

Benefits of Temperature Treatments

If you have pain from an injury, both icing and heat may help to relieve your symptoms. However, that does not mean that both are appropriate for every injury. Additionally, it does not mean that you should start using both right away.

Because it brings increased blood flow to the area. However, thermotherapy is a good idea for a chronic injury or for muscle soreness that arises from overexertion without an acute injury. However, it is not appropriate for acute inflammation, such as might occur with a ligament sprain, tendon tear, or other traumatic injury.

If the injury involves a lot of swelling and inflammation, applying heat to the area initially will just make it worse. In this situation, you want to use ice to calm the inflammation, reduce the swelling, and numb the pain. Healthcare professionals recommend that you avoid using heat on the affected area for 48 hours after the initial injury or onset of symptoms.

As an acute injury starts to repair itself, using heat can help promote healing. After the 48-hour mark has passed, you can start alternating ice and heat. Eventually, icing may no longer be of benefit, and you can switch to heat exclusively.

You may wonder, “Do I have to go to physical therapy near me for cryotherapy or thermotherapy?” It is a good idea to go to physical therapy to have your therapist demonstrate. They will explain how to apply cold or hot presses to an injury correctly. For example, you could injure your skin if you apply ice directly to your skin. Your therapist can show you how to wrap a cold pack correctly. A therapist can also tell you how long and how often to apply ice or heat to the affected area.

There are several ways to find a physical therapy clinic. You can use the internet to search for a therapy clinic in your area or ask for a referral from your doctor.

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