Chronic Care: Heat And Cold In Pain Treatment

Do I use a hot or cold water bottle against pain? The fact that both heat and cold can have an analgesic role and that sometimes one or the other is recommended can create a feeling of uncertainty that we will try to clarify for you in this post.

Heat application and chronic pain

Doctors normally use the term thermotherapy when we refer to hot applications. In addition to relieving pain, heat has an anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxing effect and can help reduce your joint stiffness.

It can be applied with hot water bottles, heating pads, hot packs, hot seed bags, infrared lamps… Or the use of paraffin on hands, elbows, knees or feet.

It is not advisable to buy paraffin and heat it by “homemade” means; in consultation we sometimes see burns due to poor control of the paraffin temperature.

You can use paraffin daily by submerging your hands, elbows… in the paraffin tank or using a brush to spread a few layers on the area to be treated, forming a kind of glove. Then you should wrap it with a towel to keep warm for about 20 minutes.

There are other techniques for applying superficial heat such as balneotherapy, applying mud, using steam baths or saunas… which already require going to specialized facilities such as spas (spa therapies).

We recommend that you turn to rehabilitation and physiotherapy centers if you decide to try deep heat applications (short wave, microwave or ultrasound).

Cold application in the treatment of chronic pain

Doctors usually refer to cold applications below body temperature using the term “cryotherapy.”

Cold can produce analgesia by reducing nervous excitability, it can temporarily reduce spasms and muscle contractures.

It can be applied with cold packs, bags with crushed ice, immersion of the affected area in ice water, contrast baths, cryogenic spray. You always have to apply it carefully; the cold can cause burns.

Since some effects are common to heat and cold, my recommendation is that you try it.

We usually say that heat is better in chronic pain and degenerative processes and that cold is more convenient in acute processes that involve inflammation. But the truth is that, for example, a knee with osteoarthritis can become acutely inflamed.

We would begin the application of thermal measures following the previous premise. If we do not achieve the desired objective, that is, reducing the pain, we can try the opposite. And if with neither heat nor cold – you get improvement, the best decision is not to apply any of them.

Are you experiencing long-term joint pain? Our non-opioid pain relief treatment can help activate your body’s natural healing abilities.

Join our team at Chronic Care of Richmond to discover how our joint pain program can support your body’s self-healing mechanisms and promote tissue and cell regeneration.

For more details about Chronic care you can visit “Chronic Care of Richmond” and ask for consultation with our top rated professional qualified doctors. Contact us today without hesitation. 

By Admin

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