Hot/Cold therapy - heat or ice therapy - has been around for a long time. Both are quite beneficial when used for the right application at the right time. The key is knowing whether ice or heat is needed. *
In general, cryotherapy slows down blood circulation in an area to reduce pain and swelling after an injury. Inflammation and pain often accompany an acute injury. So in the first 72 hours after an injury, only apply ice.
Ice reduces inflammation and numbs the pain in short spurts like 10 minutes at a time once an hour. Be sure to use a towel between you and the ice pack.
Cryotherapy may also be used in the office.
In general, thermotherapy relaxes muscles and joints.
If you are directed to do so by your doctor, apply heat (A heating pad is fine.) for 10 to 30 minutes.
Thermotherapy may also be used in the office.
Your doctor may direct you to do the hot/cold/hot routine like you receive in the office. If so, apply heat for 10 minutes then an ice pack for 10 minutes followed by heat for 10 minutes.
Heat sedates muscles and joints, and cold drives out inflammation. A balance of the two will oftentimes produce the best results.
* Use cryotherapy (ice) and thermotherapy (heat) as directed by your physician. If anything aggravates your condition, discontinue and contact The Novelli Wellness Center.