Hot Pack vs. Cold Pack. What to use when you’re hurt!
Cold vs Heat…what do I use when I’m hurt??
When you sustain a soft tissue injury like an ankle sprain or a back strain you are faced with the question of applying ice or heat to help relieve pain. Most people are more comfortable with heat as a pain reliever, because cold packs or ice bags are not as comfortable as a heating pad! However, you may be interested in knowing that cold therapy is proven to be more effective than heat at reducing swelling and relieving pain.
Ice or cold packs provide a numbing sensation for the immediate reduction of feeling pain. The cold temperature slows down the metabolic processes in the body. This will reduce swelling as the fluid and blood pooling in the area will be slowed down. Swelling is beneficial for healing, but too much swelling is a bad thing. The fluid that swells the injured area can become thick and more difficult for the body to remove when it overstays its welcome.
Heat, however, is known to open up capillaries in the body and increase blood flow. Any acute ligament sprain or muscle strain will continue to bleed with the application of heat to the area.
Choose cold over heat next time you have a new injury!
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