Hi there, I am an active mid 30’s man, trying to keep my body going through the rigors of a life aspiring to be fit. I needed some help understanding the best treatment to use and when, on my many various aches and strains. This piece will focus on whether to use HOT or COLD treatment and on what type of injury. I am not a  Doctor, and this is designed as a very brief summary of the basics of when to use hot or cold treatment on your injury.

Hot and Cold Packs

Hot or cold packs or as I will suggest, a combination of the two is a great way to treat injuries as soon as they occur. Understanding when to use HOT and COLD treatment can appear complicated-but it simply is not if you understand the basics

COLD – REDUCES BLOOD FLOW TO THE AREA, NUMBS NERVE ENDINGS TO LIMIT PAIN

USE ON…. SPRAINS, MUSCLE TEARS, INFLAMATION, BRUISING, AFTER EXERCISE

Cold compression, ice baths and the use of cold on an area is most effectively deployed immediately, and then in the first 48 hours of an acute injury. It reduces the chance of spasm, swelling and pain very effectively, and allows the injury to be assessed. It can prevent further damage such as bruising and bleeding to the tissues

HOT – RELAXES & INCREASES BLOOD FLOW TO AREA, LOOSENS MUSCLES

USE ON…. STIFF, LONG STANDING COMPLAINTS, ATHIRITUS, SPASMS, CRAMPS, OR BEFORE EXERCISE

The aim of heat treatment is to increase oxygen circulation to an affected area. Its primary focus is to provide pain relief and aid with rehabilitation after the acute phase of the problem.

Simply put-cold to prevent damage – hot to progress recovery and ease pain.   

Use cold Therapy immediately after an injury to reduce inflammation.

Don’t use Cold Therapy on stiff muscles, it will freeze and immobilise further

Use Heat therapy to relax and oxygenate muscles and to increase the areas range of motion.

Don’t use heat on an injury that is already warm to the touch.

Pennywise

If you are unfortunate enough to need hot or cold compression on a serious injury, professional help is certainly the best way for a speedy rehabilitation. Many people rule themselves out of paying for treatment or advice- only to then spend the cost of this treatment trying expensive home remedies. The clever among us realise that compared to any time off work or paying for childcare when injured, an early visit to an Osteopath or Sports Therapist can be a surprisingly economical choice. I was able to be back at work a week earlier when I injured my ankle-what’s more, I was given lots of exercises and stretches that solved a problem I had with my hip since uni!

Bodilight has a team of experts in sports injury (Osteopaths and sports therapists) and offer readers of this blog this special offer of 25% off of their first treatment by quoting OSTEO25.