Cold or Hot? Ice pack or heat rub? Surely they are both good? Well, it depends..........
Here is a 2 minute read that will help clear things up and help you decide what and when to use:
COLD MECHANISM: Limits blood flow, reduces circulation and swelling.
COLD PROS: Amazing analgesic effects; really good at 'numbing' the area. Best used for acute injury i.e sprain, strain, inflammation, bruising. Use within first 72 hours of injury/trauma.
COLD CONS: Can cause 'freeze' burn if applied for too long (10 mins with a tea towel works well). Numbing is useful, but pain is the natural response to tissue damage, so be careful!
HEAT MECHANISM: Increases blood flow, encourages circulation. Soothing effect.
HEAT PROS: Feels nice. Great for chronic conditions e.g arthritis. and fibromyalgia. Use after initial swelling (after 72 hours at least) and redness/bruising has stopped and pain has reduced. Helps to promote blood flow and kick-start the healing process.
HEAT CONS: Tempting to use in acute situations, but can make things worse by promoting swelling etc. Be careful not to burn.
Next Blog - the benefits of 'Contrast Therapy'