Ice And Heat In Physical Therapy
Why is Heat Used for Sports Injuries?
Heat can reduce muscle spasm, improve joint stiffness, and make soft tissue more limber. Heat can be used to help loosen tight muscles and joints during a warm-up period. Examples include: moist hot packs to tight leg muscles that are going to be stretched before running, or to a shoulder before throwing, or for stretching chronically tight back or neck muscles.
When Should I use Heat?
Heat should be used for stiff muscles and joints when you are trying to make them more limber. It is important not to use heat in the first few days after an injury or while your injury has any swelling.
How Should I Use Heat?
Moist heat is more effective than dry heat as it penetrates deeper and has a better effect on muscles, joints, and soft tissue. It should be used for 15 to 20 minutes, or longer if recommended by your doctor. Moist heat in the form of towels soaked in hot water or warmed in a microwave are useful, but usually lose their heat within 5 to 10 minutes. Commercial moist heat packs are more convenient and provide longer therapy. Hot tubs or whirlpools are also useful. Ultrasound is a form of deep heating that is used by therapists and trainers. Heat creams and ointments are popular but do not provide heat very deep into muscle tissue. The massaging effect of putting cream on is helpful. Be careful not to get these creams into your eyes or on to sensitive skin.
Are there any Harmful Effects from Heat Therapy?
Both Hot & Cold Treatments Are Important
People get confused with how ice and heat work to relieve pain and heal. They also get confused with which temperature treatment is better for their injury and how to get the right amount of “ice” or “heat” for effective treatment.
When it comes to using ice and heat for treating knee injuries, it’s important to keep in mind that both ice AND heat are very effective ways to relieve pain and heal. Most people will think one is better over the other from their own experience or what a doctor / physical therapist has previously told them.
The only difference between using ice and heat is that 1 is better for you at a specific time in your healing cycle. Ice is used first, right when you get your injury, to decrease pain / swelling and inflammation. Heat comes later, to increase blood flow circulation and stimulate the body’s healing response.
So which is better?
They’ll ultimately work for you in the same way. Each temperature has its own unique benefits for your knee, and when used togther they provide a powerful advantage to long-term healing. You may already know that ice or heat feels better on your knee, and this could influence your decision too.
The bottom line is that ice and heat are exceptional, natural, pain relievers and healers for your knee injury.
There are cases where some injuries will respond better to 1 temperature over the other. We want to help clear up the confusion so you know which is better and how to get the most from your treatment at home.
When To Use Heat
Heat is used much less frequently on knees than ice is. Heat can be used in the form of dry or moist heating pads, as well as a hot bath or shower or an over-the-counter Thermacare heat pack. Heat is used to increase blood flow and sooth sore muscles but should not be used until after an injury as started healing and inflammation is no longer an issue. Heat packs can help on long car rides, before athletic activities to reduce stiffness, before exercise or even while sleeping. According to The Healthy Knees Book, sometimes you can alternate heat and ice options with the instruction of your doctor.
- Heat is used much less frequently on knees than ice is.
- Heat packs can help on long car rides, before athletic activities to reduce stiffness, before exercise or even while sleeping.
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Ice Or Heating Pads For Knee Pain
Knee injuries, however minor, can cause pain and discomfort that prevents you from engaging in your normal daily activities. Knowing when to use ice and when it is okay to use heat on a knee that is in pain or injured can make a big difference between easing the pain and encouraging your knee to start healing or preventing your knee from starting the healing process, potentially causing more pain.
When To Use Cold On A Meniscus Injury:
A Cold Compress or Ice Pack work best to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation for new injuries, re-injury and during immediate post surgery recovery. Cold therapy should also be used during the first 24 – 72 hours of treatment, combined with resting your injury.
If you’ve been suffering for some time with a chronic meniscus injury you should only use cold after activity causes you more pain or triggers more inflammatory response symptoms . This would be when your knee starts to hurt at the end of the day after you’ve been on your feet, active in athletics, or performing any other tasks that has put a lot of weight or stress on your menisci. When used at this time cold compression becomes a natural / organic pain reliever, treating the site where you feel the pain.
COLD is used to treat injuries or conditions that are red, hot, inflamed, swollen and suffering from tissue damage . Cold therapy is a natural / organic pain reliever that numbs pain right at the source of your injury. While doing this, the cold also stops tissue break-down and reduces the amount of scar tissue forming .
In the medical world this is something called ‘Vasoconstriction’.
Sometimes we feel pain while doing a certain activity – should you still use cold? Too much cold therapy can reduce your ability to heal correctly, because cold is a short term pain reliever not a deep tissue healer.
Cold should be used:
Here are a couple of examples for when to use cold :
Fitfirst Knee Heating Pad
Another highly-rated wrap is the Fitfirst 2 in 1 heating pad. Fitfirst is a retailer exclusive to Amazon and sells an array of tech gadgets and medical equipment. Compared to the Graphene Times heated knee wrap and the AW Activewrap heat therapy wrap, the Fitfirst knee heating pad is the most affordable option. Similar to the other wraps on Amazon, this product is very portable and easy to wear around the house, at the office, or on vacation. Theres no doubt that youll see quick and effective results when you put this pad to use, whether it be a heating pad knee replacement therapy or just during exercise.
Each pad comes with a gel pack that measures 4.7 x 8.7 in. and fits in a flap on the knee pad. The cold pack acts as a remedy for recent pain or injuries. In addition to the cold compress gel pack, theres also a 5200 MAh power bank that is the prime source of heat. The power bank lasts up to 2.5 hours and is rechargeable through a USB port. An added bonus is that the power source doesnt add on extra weight, so the device wont slip off during movement. To secure the perfect fit, the heated knee wrap comes with two Velcro straps that can fit around your knee, thigh, and other body parts. With its well-thought design and rechargeable heat source, this product works well for when youre on the go.
Other Products To Consider
Not quite sold on a pad yet but still want heat for knee pain? No need to worry, there are plenty other pads available at your fingertips. While these pads arent our top three, theyre all very good buys and shouldnt be overlooked. All of the wraps have high-quality, durable material. A handful of these products come with progressive technology that makes adjusting the temperature a breeze. Better yet, theyre all very affordable and fit other parts of the body too. Take a look at some of the other knee pads you should consider:
Yosoo Health Gear Heated Knee Brace
ARRIS Electric Heating Pad
Another heat wrap for knee arthritis with a rechargeable heating pad Is the ARRIS heated knee brace wrap. The heating pad reaches a maximum temperature of 149 and a minimum temperature of 113. In just one to three minutes, the product will reach its maximum temperature and is ready to use. The wrap uses a technology called FIR therapy. According to ARRIS, FIR is more effective than traditional heating methods because it penetrates the skin better. While the average battery in most heating pad products is 5V, this product boasts a 7.4V battery that lasts an hour when using the maximum temperature level. If you want to use the heating pad for an extended period of time, you can use the wall charger that comes with each purchase. This knee heating pad electric device is an effective way to stimulate blood circulation, alleviate joint pains, and reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
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Our Knee Therapy Formula Isproven To Work
It may seem hard to believe, but our Knee TShellz Wraps® is intended to assist you in recovering from your injury by reducing your swelling and inflammation induced pain and maximizing blood flow where it’s needed most.
Here at MendMyKnee we pride ourselves in helping you with your healing and recovery process. Everyone at MendMyKnee has tested and used the products, finding solutions to conditions that do not fit into the norm. This dedication to our customers and our products goes hand-in-hand with our guarantees to you as a customer:
- Guarantee #1 – Use your products diligently for up to 60 days and you will experience a significant reduction in pain. If not, I encourage you to send back the items for a 100% refund.
- Guarantee #2 – You will not be left in the dark after purchasing any product from us. MendMyKnee Advisers and Product Specialists are available 5 days a week by toll free phone 1-866-237-9608 or to answer your questions or concerns.
- Guarantee #3 – Your order is guaranteed to be shipped within 24 hours on every business day.
- Guarantee #4 – All purchases receive a one year, full replacement warranty with guaranteed, prompt service.
- Guarantee #5 – You could save hundreds of dollars and possibly more, by utilizing our products, and getting back to work sooner.
My Heating Routine Post
I used a heating pad with straps and I could heat the packs up in the microwave quickly. After the packs were heated I slipped them in their sleeves and attached the wrap to my knee. I stuck to the following routine:
- Heated my knee for 10-15 minutes prior to exercise
- Heated my knee in the evening with rotations of heat/ice and light massage
- In the evenings I elevated my leg while heating and icing
- I also took over-the-counter ibuprofen which helped with inflammation post-exercise
- If I was going to sleep, I always concluded my routine with 10 minutes of ice
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Using Both Heat And Ice
In some situations, applying both ice and heat to your joint may be helpful. Called contrast therapy, this treatment involves alternating between icing and heating a joint. While this option has traditionally been utilized after exercise or participating in a sporting event to aid in recovery, it may be helpful for more chronic conditions as well. This style of treatment can be performed using hot and cold packs or by alternately submerging the knee in hot and cold water.
While individuals who received contrast therapy subjectively reported less overall soreness and muscular fatigue, the research is still mixed. The current evidence is lacking on whether this treatment is helpful in managing the pain associated with a knee injury or in reducing your inflammation levels.
Do Eat A Healthy Diet
Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. However, avoid alcohol after surgery because it retardshealing. Eat whole, unprocessed foods rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Keeping yourself at a healthy weight limits the stress on your knees. If you were overweight before yoursurgery, try a medically supervised weight loss plan to help you lose the weight and keep it off.
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When To Use Ice Treatment
Icing whether used as part of the RICE method or not is most often used for acute injury: a sudden, sharp pain, or one that results from a traumatic incident or illness to a specific part of the body. Icing helps reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
The inflammation is your bodys natural healing response to an injury or infection. Blood vessels and tissues swell to allow immune cells to reach the damaged site. However, if the inflammation isnt controlled, it can cause intense pain and disability.
Ice application helps minimize the swelling and reduce bleeding within the affected tissues, thus alleviating pain and muscle spasms. It can also be used to treat chronic overuse conditions, such as tendonitis, tendinosis, or bursitis and is effective for arthritis, neuralgia, and migraine headaches.
When icing an injury, be sure to follow these safety measures:
- Dont place ice directly on your skin. Instead, use a cloth barrier like a thin towel.
- Dont keep the ice pack in one area for more than a few minutes. Keep moving it to avoid frostbite.
- Ice the injury for 20 minutes max at a time, several times throughout the day.
- If you experience a painful, prickly sensation or your skin appears bright pink or red, remove the pack.
- If you have a heart condition, do not apply an ice pack to your left shoulder.
Heat Vs Cold Therapy: How They Work And When To Use Them
Although it seems like a simple concept, one question that we are commonly asked is when to use ice versus heat therapy to treat pain. In this post, we will discuss how each one works on a physiologic level, and when to use each one. Both heat and cold therapy are an inexpensive and easy-to-use treatment for the management of acute, chronic, and postoperative pain. These therapies are also great to use after vigorous exercise to stimulate healing. One main point to keep in mind is that ice reduces inflammation, while heat stimulates blood flow. Knowing that simple fact can help if theres ever a question about when to use which one.
Unlike cold therapy, heat therapy stimulates blood flow. This is helpful in the treatment of pain due to chronic, overuse type injuries or disease processes. Pain from sore or tight muscles is often associated with a buildup of lactic acid. Applying heat to these areas helps to stimulate the flow of oxygen-rich blood which can decrease the amount of lactic acid in the muscles, thereby decreasing pain and improving range of motion. Heat may also lead to pain relief by way of muscle relaxation. When using heat at therapeutic levels, collagen tissue relaxes and elongates, easing tension built up in the muscles. Using heat in conjunction with a stretching or home exercise program or along with a formal physical therapy program will provide the greatest results.
Similarities between Heat and Cold Therapy
When to Use What?
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No 3 Sunbeam King Size Electric Heating Pad
I find that heating pads are easier to use and provide more consistent heat over a large area. You need to have a nearby electric outlet or an indoor extension cord.
Use caution so that you do not trip over the cord.
Sunbean electric heating pads have been around forever and they work great for post-surgery rehabilitation. This pad, in particular, is the perfect size 12 x 24 and 1.5 lbs. to warm up the knee as well as lower leg and thigh muscles.
You dont have to worry about adjusting the gel packs because there is none. There are 3 settings, low, medium, and high but they wont get hot enough to burn your skin .
It also has a five-year warranty which is significantly more than any product on the list . One of the negatives is that there isnt an auto-off setting that will turn off if accidentally left on.
Most reviewers agree that they like its effectiveness compared to other heating options. They like the fact it has 3 heat settings and they like the size of the pad.
I think the five-year warranty helps with satisfaction too.
Aw Activewrap Heat Therapy Wrap
Sold by AW Activewrap, these heat therapy wraps are designed to accommodate swelling pains and also act as a heating pad for knee arthritis. With over 15 different wraps available, shoppers rave about the quality of the material used and the comfortable fit. AW Activewrap promotes the heat therapy wrap as high performance and stresses its ability to induce faster recovery. The brand has sold heat and ice wraps since 1997 and is backed by physical therapists. In addition to its durable quality, the wrap is guaranteed to be 100% leak-free.
This ice and heat knee wrap comes in various sizes, ranging from small to extra-large. To promote healing, the product comes with a hot and cold gel pack to treat conditions such as stiffness, tendonitis, swelling, and knee sprains. Designed by physical therapists, the wrap is also a popular among athletes to help ease tension on the knee during strenuous physical activity. To show their confidence in the wrap, AW Activewrap guarantees comfort and quality with all purchases. As an extra bonus, each purchase comes with a one-year warranty. The majority of customers describe this wrap as being comfortable and as an effective way to get the job done.
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