Using heat and cold therapy for muscle and joint pains. Both heat and cold therapy can help. It may take some trial and error to find out which works best for you.
How does heat therapy help reduce swelling and pain?
Heat dilates (opens up) blood vessels, stimulates blood circulation and reduces muscle spasms. At home you can try dry heat such as heating pads or moist heat such as warm baths or heated moist towels.
How does cold therapy help reduce swelling and pain?
Cold works differently, it constricts (closes blood vessels) then opens them up again closes and opens up. This alternate closing and opening cycle of blood vessels drains out swelling and toxins from that area. At home you can use ice packs with covers or traditional ice bags or ice cubes in a plastic bag with proper covers so its not too cold.
Both heat and cold should be used very carefully only when sensations are normal otherwise it can cause burns or damage to skin and tissues. Professional health care providers such as Physiotherapists use moist heat, deep heat such as ultrasound therapy and cold therapy along with joint and tissue mobilizations, specific stretching and strengthening exercises, customized tips about improving posture, ergonomics, sleeping habits for long lasting relief from pain.