Heat vs. Cold Therapy
Body aches can vary for several reasons, often causing inflammation, stiffness, swelling and other symptoms. While medication can vary depending on the reason for the pain, a simple remedy that has been around for a while is adding heat or ice to the required area. However, the mystery question is, when should you use a heat pad versus a cold compress? Each technique has its’ benefits depending on what you need it for. Let’s read below for some more tips on when to apply heat or cold on your body.

If you are feeling stiffness in your muscles right before a physical activity but not sure how to release the tension, then heat is the solution for this. Adding heat to a tight area will relax and sooth the muscle. It is important to keep in mind that the temperature for a heat pad aims to be warm and not too hot in order to maintain comfort. There are various tools and tricks you can check out to see which heating method works best for you.

• Theratherm Digital Moist Heating Pad: This tool is a moist heating pad used to help with any stiffness in the muscles. Moist heating pads are effective as they penetrate the skin deeper and target the muscle quicker.

> Another cost effective trick that can be used to create moist heat is a hot water bottle, hot baths, or steam towels.

• Digital Electric Heat Pads: This is what’s considered dry heat. This is also beneficial to release any strain on the muscles but it can also cause irritation to the skin. However, people often prefer dry heat pads as they can last longer, cause less of a mess, and feel more comfortable when being applied to the body.

> Looking for a quick and cheap way to get dry heat? Run your clothes in the dryer for a few minutes or find an electric heat pad you can plug in and it lasts for hours.

Heat is a great cure to slowly release the pressure and heal any damaged tissue. However, if the infected area has an open wound or is beginning to bruise then avoid using heat and consult a medical professional.

On the other hand, applying a cold compress can help reduce the blood flow to a particular area. As a result, this can bring down any swelling. Remember when we were kids and bumped our heads? Instantly, adults placed a frozen bag of peas on our forehead to avoid it from bruising and developing a bump. Cold compresses are quite simple, aside from the frozen peas, it’s always useful having a ice packs or frozen gel packs in the freezer. Coolant sprays can also help for temporary relief. While uncomfortable at first, ice baths are also a great cold therapy method, often used by athletes to soothe muscles and reduce inflammation.

Before applying a heat or cold pad, one should understand the reason for the pain and what method applies best. Seeking medical advice is always necessary to ensure no further complications happen and increasing the effectiveness of the treatment.