Hot or cold? The right care at the right time!

Hot or cold? The right care at the right time!
June 1, 2016 Yvon Robert

You’re in pain – excruciating would be an understatement. But the clinic is closed , emergency has an 8-hour wait, and you’ve been sitting on the line with 611 for half an hour to get medical advice. All you want is relief, and fast. But you’re afraid to make it worse by using the wrong treatment.

Or maybe you’ve been suffering for a while of moderate, though no less irritating aches and muscle spasms. Do you need hot or cold compresses? Here is a little guide that should help you decide whether to head for the microwave or the freezer.

What are the benefits of heat therapy?

Heat therapy of thermotherapy, favours the auto-regenerative process. How?

Here are a few examples:

  • Increases blood flow by dilating blood vessels;
  • Increases cell activity by increasing the transportation of oxygen;
  • Relaxes contracted muscles by eliminating toxins;
  • Improves tissue elasticity;
  • Lessens pain.

What are the benefits of cold therapy?

Cold therapy or cryotherapy provoques a thermic shock that momentarily slows biological activity in the zone where the ice is applied, namely:

  • Nerve endings (aneasthetic properties);
  • The production of enzymes that cause inflammation (anti-inflammatory properties);
  • Blood flow;
  • Muscle tone.

When to use cold, when to use hot

Use heat for: stiff muscles, joint pain, aches, spasms and cramps.

Avoid heat if you suffer from arthritis, rheumatism, infections or local inflammation.

Here are a few ways to use heat:

  • A hot bath or shower
  • A hot water bottle
  • A heated gel compress or belt

Use ice for: inflammation, sprains, torn tissue, contusions, swelling, bruising, and osteoarthritis.

Ice is to be avoided if you have wounds (ice can cause irreversible lesions), sensitivity problems, heart problems, or are allergic to extreme cold.

Here are a few ways to use cold:

  • A bag of frozen peas
  • An ice pack (to be kept in the freezer)

For more information
http://www.chiropraktik.ch/Francais/txt/Chiropratique3.97-5.cfm
http://sante.journaldesfemmes.com/muscle-os/mal-de-dos-et-idees-recues/froid-ou-chaud.shtml
http://www.bmsfrance.fr/Chaud-ou-froid-quelle-therapie-me.html

Suggested products

  • Image_WEB_4500

    Hot Water Bottle

    A soothing way to alleviate pain due to cramps, tension and stress-related aches.   Characteristics :
    • Embossed surface
    • Leak-proof seal
    Indications :
    • Arthritis
    • Cramps
    • Spasms
    Hot therapy : Improves the elasticity of tissues, including muscles and connective tissues. Made of : Moulded rubber
  • Image_WEB_712

    Instant Cold Compress – Soft Texture 712

    DESIGNED TO PROVIDE INSTANT COLD THERAPY Recommended to reduce inflammation caused by tendonitis, strains, sprains and minor burns. Perfect to keep in your First Aid kit or in your sport's bag. Characteristics :
    • Instant cold chemical reaction
    • Stays cold approximately 30 minutes
    • Soft texture : can be applied directly on the skin
    • 10 cm x 15 cm (6" x 4")
    • Single use
    • Non-toxic product
  • Image_WEB_395

    Hot and Cold Gel-Pak™ Ultra Comfort Compress – Neck and Shoulders

    DESIGNED TO RELIEVE NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN This thermotherapeutic compress can be used hot or cold. To protect the skin from direct contact with it and to retain water allowing a treatment by moist heat to be made, a washable pouch is covered over the compress. When placed on the neck and shoulders, targeted action is created.  Its extended shape and Velcro®-type closures allow the compress to remain in place. The unique gel formula ensures permanent flexibility to the compress. When cold, it effectively relieves surface burns, sprains or muscle inflammation. When hot, it soothes pain due to cramps, fever or other stress-related injuries. Store in the freezer for cold use. Microwave for hot use. Characteristics :
    • Targeted action on the neck and shoulders
    • Unique gel formula ensuring permanent flexibility to the compress
    • Reusable compress
    • Velcro®-type closures to maintain the compress in place
    • Includes a machine washable pouch
    • Non-toxic
    Hot therapy Increases the flexibility of soft tissues, including muscles and connective tissue. Recommended to ease pain due to stiff muscles, joint pain, aches, spasms and cramps. Preparation : Microwave for 1 minute Application : 12 minutes MINIMUM to 15 minutes MAXIMUM Cold therapy  Recommended for the treatment of inflammation, sprains, torn tissue, contusions, swelling and osteoarthritis. Preparation : 2 hours in freezer Application : 20 minutes