Health Knowledge

Hot or Cold Compresses – The Eternal Dilemma

Some like it hot. And some cold. Whenever there is an injury or pain, the first question that arises is whether to put warm or cold compresses. Surely you have all happened to stiffen, injure or feel some muscle pain, so you wonder if you should put ice and cool or some blanket and warm up. It often happens that after training we feel a certain discomfort in the muscles or we wake up stiff because we slept uncomfortably and then we are never sure what kind of covering would suit that pain.

Of course, different types of pain and injuries will suit different dressings, so it is logical for us to worry about using hot or cold compresses. If the pain is so unpleasant and strong that it worries you, it would certainly be best for you to be seen by a doctor who will assess what type of injury is involved, how much damage it is and how best to treat it. But there are many minor injuries that go away in a few days and without a visit to the doctor, so a few basic instructions regarding the types of dressings can be useful to you.

Hot or Cold Compresses - The Eternal Dilemma
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Hot or cold compresses — when to use them

Some general guidelines would be that cold compresses should be applied when there is a fresh injury and there is swelling (such as when we bend the ankle). A cold compress will reduce the flow of blood to the injured area, thus reducing inflammation and swelling. In case of chronic pain, we can use warm compresses. They will improve blood flow to the heated area and thus help the stiff muscles to move and increase the amplitude of movement.

We must once again note that hot or cold compresses are not and cannot be a substitute for therapy, so if you suspect any serious injury, be sure contact your doctor who will assess what is best to do next.

Cold compresses

Generally speaking, when it comes to an acute injury, sprained ankle, muscle injury, bruise or inflammation, it is good to apply a cold compress as soon as possible, preferably immediately after the injury. In this way, we will reduce swelling and inflammation of the soft tissue, because the cold causes the blood vessels to constrict, thus reducing the blood flow in the injured area, which prevents swelling. The cold compress also affects the nerve endings and thus reduces the pain. Continue to apply cold compresses for three to five days after the injury, as well as for injuries that often occur and are common in people who play sports. Be sure to apply a cold compress after a workout to soothe a certain area prone to injury, never before a workout. 

The best cold wrap is believe it or not a bag of frozen vegetables, because it can be nicely adapted to the shape of the part of the body that needs to be cooled. Just make sure you wrap it in a cloth so it doesn’t leave a puddle around you as it melts. If you put ice, also wrap it in a cloth or towel. It would certainly be good to lift the injured part of the body a little, and if you can rest for a few hours, then you can also take some analgesic. Take care not to take the analgesic if you cannot rest, because it will reduce the pain and therefore you can injure the injured area even worse. 

It would be best to keep the cold compress for up to 20 minutes, then take a break. then you can also take some analgesic. Take care not to take the analgesic if you cannot rest, because it will reduce the pain and therefore you can injure the injured area even worse. It would be best to keep the cold compress for up to 20 minutes, then take a break. then you can also take some analgesic. Take care not to take the analgesic if you cannot rest, because it will reduce the pain and therefore you can injure the injured area even worse. It would be best to keep the cold compress for up to 20 minutes, then take a break.

Warm linings

Muscles that are stiff and sore, perhaps due to excessive effort, respond well to warm compresses, as the heat heats and relaxes them. In this way, the mobility of muscles and joints is also improved. They are also suitable in case of arthritis, muscle spasms and various chronic pains. The heat opens the blood vessels, which increases blood flow and provides a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrients and reduces pain in muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons. The warm compress can be dry (hot water bottle or one of the purchased gel packages) or wet (wet warm towel, for example), it is only important that the coating is not hot and that you do not apply it for more than 20 minutes or if there is swelling. Also, showering with hot water or when filled with hot water, massage or sauna can be pleasant and help in cases when it is necessary to heat the sore spot.

Coatings – first aid to relieve pain

Sometimes the answer to the question of hot or cold lining – both. This therapy is usually used for sports injuries, although it can help with other types of pain, and based on clinical research and experience, a ratio of 1 to 3 minutes for cold and warm, or 1 minute cold compress, 3 minutes warm. Of course, the doctor will best assess how and how much to apply this type of therapy.

These are just some general guidelines, be sure not to hesitate to contact your doctor if you have any injury, no matter how much it hurts and what it looks like, even if you are just not sure whether to choose hot or cold compresses. The doctor will instruct you on how best to heal the injury and reduce the pain, and if necessary, send you for a scan, so you will be sure that you have taken care of your body in the best way.

Credit: healthcareconsulting.rs

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