How Cold and Heat Therapy Relieves Pain
Everyone knows that a tried-and-true pain relief option is to use heat and cold therapy on the affected area to ease discomfort. And we’re probably all guilty of pulling out the heating pad or ice pack when we’re dealing with anything from stomach cramps to arthritis. But do you know how cold and heat therapy actually works to ease aches and pains? Read on to learn how cold and heat therapy works, the benefits of them, and the perfect product to use at home to relieve pain!
How cold therapy works
Cold therapy works by reducing the blood flow to the affected area which can minimize swelling and inflammation that result in pain. Not only does this lessen discomfort but bringing down the swelling can also reduce the risk of tissue damage caused by excess inflammation. Cold temperatures also work to temporarily reduce nerve signals sent to the brain which can lessen the feeling of pain. Essentially, cold therapy acts like a local anesthetic (like lidocaine or anesthesia) to numb those sore muscles and tissues to decrease pain.
When you’re injured, your body sends an abundance of white blood cells to the injured area to start repairing the damage. These excess white blood cells cause the swelling you notice right after an injury occurs. While this inflammation is normal and needed to help recover from injury, it can result in tissue damage if left untreated. This is why cold therapy is recommended within 48 hours of the injury to bring down this swelling and reduce the risk of any damage.
While it’s recommended to use heat therapy before the gym to relax muscles and reduce tension, cold therapy is great to use after working out to recharge the muscles. This is because cold therapy can reduce recovery time and lessen any muscle soreness caused by exercise.
Cold therapy can be used for a wide range of pain management such as sprains, arthritis, lower back pain, and more. If you have poor circulation or are dealing with stiffness, avoid using cold therapy as the reduction in blood flow can make your pain worse.
How heat therapy works
For thousands of years (fun fact--ancient Egyptians and Greeks used the warmth of the sun to soothe the pain!), people have used heat therapy to ease aches and pains as well as speed up the injury recovery process. On the opposite end of cold therapy, heat therapy works by upping your blood flow and circulation to the affected area because of the heightened temperature. When circulation is increased, your muscles start to relax to improve flexibility and soothe discomfort. When you’re injured, your brain sends signals to the injury site that often result in muscle contractions which can cause spasms. Heat can actually activate what are called temperature-sensitive thermoreceptors to block those signals from your brain that cause muscle contractions. If you’re dealing with stiffness, heat therapy can also help loosen up that muscle tension and relax any stiffness that’s causing pain.
Did you know that heat can also help quicken recovery after an injury too? Because heat increases blood flow in the injured area, more nutrients are brought to the area while damaged debris is flushed out. The high temperature also speeds up your natural metabolic rate to increase energy to heal quicker.
Heat therapy can also be used prior to exercising or stretching to relax muscles and increase muscle elasticity. This can lessen the chances of injury due to exercise because the tissue is relaxed and not straining.
Heat therapy can work for almost anyone, but you will want to avoid heat therapy if the area is swollen and/or bruised (this is when you want to use cold therapy instead.) People with certain conditions such as diabetes, MS, and dermatitis also want to stay clear of heat therapy due to a higher risk of burns. Make sure to talk with your healthcare physician to ensure that heat therapy is right for you.
Benefits of cold and heat therapy
Still not sold on cold and heat therapy? Here are the main benefits:
· Unlike many forms of pain relief, cold and heat therapy work instantly to help block the transmission of pain signals to your brain to provide fast relief.
· Not only does heat therapy soothe pain, but it also speeds up recovery time, relieve tension, and ease stiffness.
· Cold therapy reduces inflammation, lessens the risk of tissue damage, and speeds up recovery time.
· Cold and heat therapy work great when used in conjunction with each other. After an injury, it’s recommended to use cold therapy first to reduce inflammation and then heat therapy to relax muscles and ease discomfort. Many people even do contrast therapy which is when you switch between warm water and cold water every few minutes in the shower. This method is particularly popular with athletes to recover from muscles soreness or injury.
SINSINPAS AREX Cool and Hot Pain Relieving Patch
While any type of heat and cold therapy such as hot baths are ideal to soothe pain, the SINSINPAS AREX Cool and Hot Pain Relieving Patch is ideal because it’s convenient, portable, and super easy to apply. What makes the SINSINPAS AREX Patches special is that they offer both cold and heat therapy to alleviate aches and pains anywhere on the body. This pain relieving patch works by dulling your pain through cold therapy and then relaxes your muscles through heat therapy for the perfect balance that results in total pain relief. Not only do the SINSINPAS AREX patches provide instant pain relief, they also provide long-lasting relief so you can apply the patch and forget about it. The best part? The SINSINPAS AREX patches are made with a strong but flexible fabric that allows for total movement whether you’re in the gym, running after your kids, or hanging out on the couch! If you’re suffering from arthritis pain, a backache, cramps, muscles stiffness or soreness, the SINSINPAS AREX Instant Pain Relief Patch is for you!