What is the difference between hot and cold compresses in treating pain?
Sometimes you may be confused about whether to use hot or cold compresses when treating sore muscles or muscle injuries, but here is the most important information on the matter.
Advantages and types of hot compresses
- It brings more blood to the area it is applied to.
- It reduces joint stiffness and muscle spasms, making it useful when muscles are tight.
- It should not be used within the first 48 hours after infection.
1. The hot towel
- Wet the washcloth with warm (not too hot) water.
- Placed on affected area to relieve muscle spasm.
2. Warm storage
Be sure to protect any type of heating device from direct contact with the skin, and precautions should be taken to avoid burns, especially if you have nerve damage that may be due to diabetes or other health conditions.
Advantages and types of cold compresses
- Relieve pain by numbing the affected area.
- Reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Reduce bleeding.
- They usually benefit immediately after the injury.
1. Cold wash cloth
- Dampen a washcloth with cold water.
- Fold it up and put it in a resealable plastic bag.
- Place the bag in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Take it out of the freezer and apply it to the affected area.
2. Ice box
- Place the ice in a resealable plastic bag.
- Partially fill with water.
- Seal the bag and squeeze out the air.
- Wrap the bag in a wet towel and place it on the affected area.
When an injury or inflammation occurs, such as tendinitis, the tissue is damaged, and the cooling agent helps to numb the affected area, which reduces pain. Cold can also reduce swelling and inflammation.