Benefits of Heat & Cold
What is Heat used for?
Heat can reduce muscle spasms, reduce joint stiffness, and make soft tissue more limber. Heat can be used to help loosen tight muscles and joints during a warm-up period before exercise. For example, you may put heat packs on tight leg muscles before running, or on your shoulder before throwing, or on tight neck or back muscles.
Heat Uses dilates the blood vessels of the muscles surrounding the pain area of body. This process increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, helping to heal the damaged tissue.
Heat stimulates the sensory receptors in the skin, which means that applying heat to the pain area of body will decrease transmissions of pain signals to the brain and partially relieve the discomfort.
Heat application facilitates stretching the soft tissues around the pain area of body, including muscles, connective tissue, and adhesions. Consequently, with heat therapy, there will be a decrease in stiffness as well as injury, with an increase in flexibility and overall feeling of comfort. Flexibility is very important for a healthy back, neck, shoulder and etc.
When should I use heat?
Use heat for stiff muscles and joints when you are trying to make them more limber. Do not use heat in the first few days after an injury or while your injury has any swelling because heat increases blood flow and can worsen swelling.
There are several other significant benefits of heat therapy that make it so appealing. Compared to most therapies, heat therapy is quite inexpensive. Heat is also easy to do - it can be done at home while relaxing, and portable heat packs also make it an option while at work or in the car.
For many people, heat uses works best when combined with other treatment modalities Relative to most medical treatments available, heat therapy is appealing to many people because it is a non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical form of muscle pain relief.
Cold Therapy, also known as Cryotherapy, works on the principle of heat exchange. This occurs when you place a cooler object in direct contact with an object of warmer temperature, such as ice against skin. The cooler object will absorb the heat of the warmer object. Most therapists and doctors advise not to use heat right after an injury, as this will have the opposite effect of ice. Heat increases blood flow and relaxes muscles. Heat is good for easing tight muscles, but Cold will decrease the pain and swelling of an injury by decelerating metabolism. Some of the possible cold therapy mechanisms include:
-A decreased nerve transmission in pain fibres.
-Cold reduces the activity of free nerve endings.
-Cold raises the pain threshold.
-Cold causes a release of endorphins.
-Cold sensations over-ride the pain sensation - known as the pain gate theory.