For an athlete, there is nothing worse than becoming injured. Treating injuries with heat or cold therapy will help lessen the pain the athlete may be experiencing. Knowing when to use each therapy is helpful in utilizing these types of treatments effectively.
When to use Heat Therapy
Heat should be used in case of chronic or recurrent injuries or pain involving muscle or muscle strain or stress. When muscles are strained or stressed, lactic acid builds up in them causing pain. Heat therapy helps with blood flow and remove the build-up of lactic acid.
Use of a heating pad, hot baths or showers, saunas, or even hot, damp towels are some ways of utilizing heat for an injury. Heat helps the muscles rid themselves of the built-up toxins causing pain. Prevent burns by not applying direct heat. And always hydrate when utilizing systemic heat therapy such as hot saunas or baths.
When to use Cold Therapy
Cold or ice therapy is used in casez of acute pain or a new injury that is swollen, inflamed, red or sensitive. Ice is particularly helpful in treating swelling after injuries such as a sprained ankle, shin splints or plantar fascitis. Ice should typically be applied after activities such as running, not before.
Ice packs, iced towels, ice massage, or even frozen vegetables are common ways to apply ice to a new injury. Be sure to use a thin towel and not to apply ice directly to the injury. Cold therapy is good way to provide the body drug-free pain relief.
Any time an injury occurs, it is wise to consult your physician, especially with chronic or acute pain, to avoid further injury and absence from your sport.
For more information contact us to learn more about treating injury.