Should You Use Ice or Heat for Pain?

Common pains can cause serious discomfort and uneasiness. Pain can be of any type- headache, muscular cramps, muscle soreness, neck pain etc. We all are familiar with hot and cold treatments but we cannot simply use them without knowing whether heat should be applied or cold! Common pains differ and so does their treatment. Here is what you should opt for in common pains:

COLD TREATMENT

Ice calms down damaged tissue and slows down the blood flow to an injury, to reduces swelling, inflammation and controls the pain.  Ice is good for migraine headaches, bumps, sprains, and strains that may occur with sports, slips and falls, or lifting. Cold therapy is also helpful in treating some overuse injuries or chronic pain in athletes.

Treat for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. During treatment check skin every 5 minutes to make sure there is no damage, such as freezer burn (skin would become reddened or blistered, just as when burned with heat).

How to apply ice? You can apply an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas or ice blocks (all of these options should be wrapped in a moist towel before applying. Do not apply ice directly to skin, use a thin towel. Wait 1 hour in betweeen cold treatments. You could also fill a bucket with water and ice cubes, and have an ‘ice bath’ for a hand or a foot injury. Ice is used in the first 24-72 hours of the injury.

HEAT TREATMENT

Heat promotes muscle relaxation and can increase range of motion. It opens blood vessels to increase blood flow, relaxes muscles and helps alleviate pain. Heat is a great way to help loosen up tight joints and tight muscles. It is also a good method of pain relief for tension headaches and other chronic conditions. Always wait 48-72 hours before considering heat therapy. When in doubt use ice.

Treat for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. Do not lie on a hot pack to avoid falling asleep and potentially burning yourself. NEVER us heat if there is swelling or bruising. Do not apply heat directly to skin, use a thin towel.

How to apply ice? You can use a heat bag, such as a lupin or wheat bag, a hot water bottle or an electric heat pack (wrapped in a cloth) and applied to the sore area.

NECK PAIN

Cold temperature helps reduce inflammation and reduces pain. Put some crushed ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap it in a thin towel. Put the ice pack on your neck for not more than 15 minutes at a time. Follow this remedy every two to three hours for the first 2 days. If you have swelling, you would need to use hot treatment like warm water bag because heat has the tendency to reduce swelling related to inflammation.

Solution: Cold for inflammation and pain and heat for swelling.

HEADACHE

Headache is a common problem but the pain does differ. For throbbing head pain, ice therapy cold work better- put some ice cubes in a cotton cloth and place it on your head in intervals. For painful head spasms, moist heat works well as it passes through the pores of your forehead and scalp and calms the pain down internally. For moist heat, place wet cloth soaked in hot water on your forehead and head. TOP HOME REMEDIES TO GET RID OF HEADACHE

Solution: Cold for throbbing pain and moist heat for painful head spasms.

PAINFUL LEG CRAMPS

Leg cramps are caused due to lactic acid accumulation and heat therapy can help reduce the pain and cramps. Soaking your body in hot bath water works great along with Epsom salt in it. Cold water can help with tightening of pores after hot water soaking.

Solution: Hot bath water for muscle cramps.

SPRAINS

Stretching or tearing of ligaments in joints like the shoulder, elbow, knee, wrist etc. is called a sprain. Ice massage will help with sprains as it eases the inflammation an also helps numb the pain! Take ice cubes and wrap them in a thin cotton cloth and massage it on the area where you feel sprain.

Solution: Cold treatments with direct ice massage for sprains.

JAW PAIN DUE TO ACHING TOOTH

Sometimes, jaw area can pain too due to aching tooth. Clove oil or chewing on clove can ease toothache but that won’t help your jaw pain. Grab some ice and wrap it in a thin cotton cloth and massage it on the jaw area multiple times a day.

Solution: Cold treatment for jaw pain as it calms down the inflammation.

PERIOD CRAMPS

Hot water definitely works for period muscle cramps because it eases the muscle contractions. Hot water internally as well externally helps with easing period pain. Drink hot water or jeera water and use some hot water bags on the lower abdomen to ease the pain. Home remedies for menstrual cramps

Solution: Hot water/jeera water and hot water bag for easing the period pain.

BACK PAIN

Back pain is a common problem and a warm bath or hot water bag can help. Soaking your body in hot bath water works great along with Epsom salt in it. Cold water can help with tightening of pores after hot water soaking.

Solution: Hot water bath for back pain.

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