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Hot Vs Cold and How To Soothe Those Aching Muscles

 
Date Posted: August 19, 2016
 

 
 
 
Q: I have had many injuries and I was wondering when to use Heat vs. Cold?
Meryl Da Costa: Good Question, prior to explaining when to use either I would first like to explain what each does. Heat increases blood flow to area which in turn delivers oxygen and nutrients to promote healing, it increases flexibility of the muscle and tendon and it reduces muscle spasm and pain. Heat helps to decrease the stimulation of nerve fibres that cause pain. It is also thought to induce the release of endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers. Cold helps to reduce swelling by constricting the walls for blood vessels and when combined with tensoring will help to reduce the amount of blood that reaches the injured area. It also helps to reduce muscle spasm and decreases pain by reducing the activity of pain producing nerves.
Heat can be used for sub-acute and chronic injuries ( > 48 hours) where swelling and inflammation is not present. Heat can be applied to the injured area for 10 to 20 minutes. It should not be used in areas where circulation has been compromised and it should not be used in open wounds and/or stitches
Cold can be used for acute injuries where swelling and inflammation is present. It should be applied to the injured area for no more than 10 minutes at a time and should not be applied directly on the skin.
 

 

 
 
 

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