I am often asked when a hot or cold application should be used for either injuries or other conditions. When an injury is acute or recent, such as 1-7 days, then cold should be applied to help reduce the swelling in muscle or joint areas. Cold should never be applied directly on bony areas or on compromised skin tissue. The cold pack can be applied for 15 minutes and then taken off for 30 minutes, to allow the body area to naturally reheat itself.
Heat is used more for chronic conditions or when muscles are feeling tight or are aching. The heat will send blood to the area to help soften the muscle tissue. The best form of heat is a deep moist heat and should remain on the affected area for 20-30 minutes. Heat should not be used if there are compromised skin conditions, open wounds, poor circulation or diabetic conditions.
It is always best to check with a health professional if you are unsure of which modality should be used to have the maximum relief possible. Call me today, I am happy to help.