Hot and Cold Therapy
Hot and cold therapy can take many forms. Using temperature to feel better is intuitive behaviour. We mostly all enjoy a warm bath, or the feeling of a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. We splash cold water on our faces to help wake in the morning and instinctively move towards a bonfire on a cold winter’s night.
When it comes to injuring ourselves and feeling pain, we tend to share everyday practices. Be it running a bruised finger under the cold tap, a hot water bottle pressed up against a problematic lower back or holding a packet of frozen peas to a twisted ankle; most of us have at some point, have reached for something hot or cold to help with an injury or simply move more easily.
There are no hidden, super healing magical ingredients in our cold packs and heat packs. The products are using the same principles as the everyday hot and cold therapy items that people reach for – but are more practical and reusable than grabbing food items from the freezer! Our packs are not going to fix the injury but will help you manage the injury.
If you are in any doubt about the severity of your injury or the best way to treat it, you should seek professional medical advice.
What does temperature do?
- Increases blood flow to the area
- Cellular activity increases
- Blood vessels widen in size
- Less resistance to blood flow within the area
- Nerve signal activity maintained
- Decreases blood flow to the area
- Cellular activity decreases
- Blood vessels narrow in size
- More resistance to blood flow within the area
- Decrease in nerve signal activity
When to use cold and when to use heat!
Cold – sprains, strains & post- impact
Heat – tightness & tension
Whilst there are a few exceptions, heat therapy is generally used to help treat long term muscular tightness, where as cold therapy should be used for the immediate application to an injury or to help inflammation post-treatment and or exercise session. Hot and cold therapy can be a very effective method to manage injuries, tightness and tension.
Cold Therapy Applications – cool and calm down!
Cold packs are about the NOW – as an immediate treatment for inflammation. That can be an out and out sprain such as an ankle twist or nursing a bruised shoulder or knee after a heavy collision on the pitch. You will have a specific pain to a precise area of the body.
Applying a Thermopacks cold pack to an injury will (in simple terms) slow everything down. The nerve signals that are telling the brain that `this really hurts!’ are amongst the first thing to be effected, which means less pain. With mostly all injuries, there is the immediate injured tissue which can benefit from being calmed reasonably quickly to prevent long term problems to the immediate and surrounding area.
Cold therapy is best used little and often. We recommend that you apply our cold packs approx. every 2-3 hours, for about 10 minutes each time. “When you’re numb – you’re done!” Keeping that phrase in mind will help make sure you do not overdo it.
We recommend that this continues for approx. 2-3 days after the initial injury takes place, depending on the size and severity of the injured site. If the injured area is sensitive to touch, if the skin is hot and red, if there is swelling, then these are all signs that your injury is still fresh and should notbe heated.
Thermopacks cold packs are portable and reusable simply by putting back into the fridge or freezer for 35-50 minutes so can easily be taken to the workplace for that injury management to continue.
Tendinitis and long term Inflammation
Thermopacks cold packs can also be used for tissue fatigue / overuse injuries. There are many of these types of injuries, but some of the most common are tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints and plantar fasciitis. These all tend to involve inflammation to the muscles and connective tissue within a certain area – often at the joint or the most active part of that body part. Cold packs will help to bring that inflammation down.
Again, Thermopacks Cold packs will not cure these types of long term injuries but will help to alleviate the pain. We strongly recommend that you take steps to combine the use of cold packs with a management programme aimed at overcoming that long term injury. It is not enough to simply avoid using a body part / activity as the sole method overcoming these conditions.
Muscle tightness and muscle imbalances are very often major contributors to tissue fatigue. For example,
Tennis elbow can be treated by stretching the Triceps muscle group which are overworking because of weak bicep function. Shin splints will benefit from a regular cold compression, but also benefit from the massage and stretching of the calf muscles. Therefore, regarding long term inflammation conditions, we recommend that.
- Thermopacks cold packs are used to help alleviate pain and bring inflation down
- You seek professional advice, diagnosis, and treatment of the injury.
- Ask that professional for a management programme which includes a routine of stretches and or strengthening exercises; movements that can be performed at home in conjunction with the treatment you receive from the therapist.
- Thermopacks cold packs are used to soothe the exercised area immediately after stretching or the performance of strengthening exercises.
Heat Therapy Applications – let us get moving!
Look again the effects that heat has on the body as applied when someone uses a hot water bottle to help with their lower back pain. The positive effects of heat therapy are based on increasing the blood flow to the area, making it more pliable and mobile. Contained within that increased blood flow are higher levels of oxygen and nutrients, as well as the blood being less thick and the surrounding vessels being wider.
All these factors help the muscle to relax, which in turn soothes the area and alleviates pain. If you think back to the hot water bottle on the lower back, it is often the case that only once the sufferer’s muscles have reached a heat induced level of relaxation, does that person then attempt to move about.
Thermopacks heat packs will not cure a long term injury, but they do alleviate the symptoms and put the muscles involved in a positive state to be worked on through stretching, massage, and movement. We are strong advocates of using the Thermopacks heat pack products alongside, and as part of a management programme that is aimed at overcoming the injury.
For long term conditions, we recommend that.
- Heat packs can be used to soothe area and manage pain
- You seek out professional medical advice / qualified therapist for diagnosis of the injury
- Ask that professional for a management programme which includes a routine of stretches and movements that can be performed at home in conjunction with the treatment you receive from the therapist.
- Thermopacks heat packs can be applied to the specific area as first stage warming up process.
- The routine of stretches and movements is performed and reviewed after a set period.