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Which Is Better For Knee Pain Heat Or Cold

How Does Heat And Cold Help Arthritis Pain

When to use heat or cold for knee pain?

Heat or cold therapy works by stimulating your body’s own healing force. For instance, heat dilates the blood vessels, stimulates blood circulation, and reduces muscle spasms. In addition, heat alters the sensation of pain. You can use either dry heat — such as heating pads or heat lamps — or moist heat — such as warm baths or heated wash cloths.

Conversely, cold compresses reduce swelling by constricting blood vessels. While cold packs may be uncomfortable at first, they can numb deep pain.

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.

How To Use Ice And Heat For Bursitis

When it comes to using ice and heat for treating bursitis 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 / PT 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. Once swelling has reduced, we then focus on heat based treatments to increase blood flow circulation in soft tissue which will stimulate the body’s healing response.

Each temperature has its own unique benefits for bursitis treatment, and when used together they provide a powerful advantage to long-term healing. You may already know that ice or heat feels better on your injured bursa, and this could influence your decision too.

The bottom line is that ice and heat are exceptional, natural, pain relievers and healers for your bursitis.

There are cases where some bursa 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.

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When To Use Cold Therapy:

  • If you have had a recent injury where swelling is a problem.
  • Apply an ice pack, frozen gel pack or even a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to the affected area. You should never apply a frozen item directly to the skin, as it can cause damage to the skin and tissues.
  • Apply cold treatment as soon as possible after an injury.
  • Use cold therapy for short periods of time, several times a day. Ten to 15 minutes is fine, and no more than 20 minutes of cold therapy should be used at a time to prevent nerve, tissue, and skin damage.
  • Elevate the affected area for best results.

Ice Vs Heat For Treating Your Knee Injury

What Is Better For Knee Pain Heat Or Cold

When dealing with a knee injury it’s hard to know what treatment will work best for you. You might be wondering if ice and heat will work for you. Or maybe even which will work better – ice OR heat.

Icing and heating are 2 of the most natural treatment options available. Compared to medications, surgery and other treatment methods – icing and heating have been around for centuries and have always been used for knee injury healing as a means to soothe and heal.

We understand that it can get pretty confusing to figure out what conservative treatment method will work best with all of the treatment options available to you today. To get started, you should think about the benefits you’ll get from using these therapies.

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Should I Use Heat Or Cold For My Arthritis Pain

Its a common question when trying to find relief for your symptoms- should I use heat or cold for my arthritis pain? The answer to this question simply is there are therapeutic benefits to using both hot and cold treatments to help address your pain symptoms, especially the pain associated with arthritis. Both heat and cold treatments can stimulate the body to heal itself. The trick is knowing when to reach for the heating pad or the ice pack or both and how long to use each treatment to alleviate the pain being experienced.

Heat is an effective treatment for loosening stiff joints and soothing tired muscles. It loosens the body up prior to exercise and can help with relaxation and reducing muscle spasms. It also increases blood flow to an area and promotes healing. Heat however is not recommended on swollen, red or irritated joints, that is where a cold pack will be helpful. Cold treatments are effective for acute pain when constricting blood flow aids in decreasing inflammation and swelling.

Cold treatments include applying a frozen gel pack or a frozen bag of vegetables to the affected area, helping to reduce inflammation, leading to joint pain. Switching between hot and cold therapy can offer excellent arthritis pain management benefits, as long as each one is used appropriately.

If You Answered With Pain In The Knee Joint

You might want to opt for ice. If your main problem is knee joint pain, I would apply the ice directly to the most painful area of the joint.

Youll want to use a few layers between the ice and your skin. My preferred method would be:

  • Take a bag of frozen peas from the freezer
  • Wrap a thin towel around them
  • Dampen the towel slightly, then apply to the painful area for 15 minutes
  • Remove the peas/towel and let the area heat back up to its natural skin temperature
  • You can then apply the peas/towel again. There is no limit to how many times you can do this.
  • Always look out for any signs of ice burn on your skin and remove immediately if you see or feel anything.

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If You Answered With Stiffness In The Knee Joint

If stiffness in the knee joint was a persons main symptom, providing there isnt much swelling and their pain levels are generally low, I would opt for applying heat to the affected knee joint.

This would encourage better mobility for the knee joint and let you walk further and stand more easily.

To use this technique, follow this method:

  • Start sitting comfortably
  • Take a hot water bottle
  • Apply it immediately to your stiff knee
  • Keep it there for 15 minutes, then remove
  • Allow the skin to cool to a natural temperature, then repeat the process
  • Always look out for any signs of heat burn on your skin and remove immediately if you see or feel anything.

Attach The Tshellz Wrap Plug It In And Let The Energy Pad Do The Work

Is Ice or Heat Better After Knee Replacement Surgery?

The application of a TShellz Wrap® is a good long-term plan as you will find it to be a highly beneficial tool for soft tissue health – both in the recovery process as well as for long term re-injury prevention. Many of our clients use it on a preventive basis to relax constricted soft tissue – especially prior to exertion. The TShellz Wrap® enhances the local blood circulatory system, increasing the flow of oxygen, nutrients and energy your body needs during its self healing process.

Our TShellz Wrap wraps are registered with the FDA as medical devices which meet high manufacturing standards.

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So Do You Use Heat Or Ice For Knee Pain

The answer to this question depends on the main problem you have, as well as the location of the pain around your knee.

The first question to ask yourself is this: Is my main problem PAIN or STIFFNESS?

The second question is: Is my main problem area my MUSCLES or my JOINT?

Lets talk about each scenario one by one

How Cold Therapy Helps An Injury

Your bodys natural response to an injury is inflammation. The area that has been hurt can be red, sensitive or inflamed. This happens when damaged blood vessels expand. Ice helps restrict the blood vessels, which decreases swelling and pain. Ice therapy is most effective when applied early and frequently during the first 48 hours after an acute injury. Additionally, ice can be used on a chronic injury after a flare up, but otherwise should not be used for a chronic injury because it can increase stiffness.

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Heat Works For Pain Relief Because Of The Actions Mentioned Below

  • Increases blood supply to the affected area, resulting in increased flow of nutrients to the area and faster flushing out of wastes or toxins.
  • Penetrates cells and tissues, facilitating increased oxygen uptake and enzyme activity and, consequently, tissue healing
  • Stimulates sensory receptors to block pain signals to the brain, resulting in instant and effective pain relief
  • Specifically in arthritis, it decreases the viscosity of joint fluid, and the less-thick fluid offers better joint lubrication. It also improves the elasticity of adjacent connective tissues
  • Provides warmth, which in turn provides a feel-good effect

Just like heat, such as that in sauna, can soothe a troubled mind and nervous system, it also soothes an arthritic joint. Apply for about 15-20 minutes for mild pain and/or stiffness and about 30 minutes for moderate pain.

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If You Answered With Stiffness In The Knee Muscles

Hot vs. Cold Therapy: Which is Better for your Injury ...

Heat, heat and more heat. Honestly, the best results Ive seen come when someone has applied heat to the knee muscles to allow better movement and less of that horrible cant-bend-your-knee sensation.

For best effects, use this method:

  • Start sitting in a chair
  • Take a hot water bottle
  • Slip it over your thigh and apply it to the stiffest area
  • Keep it there for 15 minutes, then remove
  • Allow the skin to cool to a natural temperature, then repeat the process
  • Always look out for any signs of heat burn on your skin and remove immediately if you see or feel anything.

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Alternating Heat And Cold

In some cases, alternating hot and cold therapy has the best outcome. Some neuralgia patients have reported that alternating hot and cold packs work best, so you should experiment to determine what works best for you. If several treatments with one type of therapy do not work, try using the opposite therapy.

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Coldice / Cold As Pain Relief For Your Bursitis Injury

COLD is used to treat injuries or conditions that are red, hot, inflamed, swollen and suffering from tissue damage . Cold 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 .

When cold is applied to a bursitis injury, all of the soft tissue in the treatment area will squeeze on the veins to slow down blood flow. This in turn clamps down on the amount of fluid leaking into your injured tissue, decreasing your swelling. This is why cold is used immediately to treat newer soft tissue injuries or re-injuries. The cold slows down your body to stop the amount of damage happening to your tissue and decrease your swelling. This cold also has a nice side benefit of numbing the nerves in and around the area, thereby decreasing your pain.

In the medical world this is something called ‘Vasoconstriction’.

Cold can Make Your Bursa Injury Worse – How?

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Heat Therapy For Joint Pain

After a long day, soaking in a steaming shower or bathtub, sipping a cup of hot tea, or cozying up in a warm robe can make you feel comforted and soothed. There’s a reason you reach for heat when you need relief from pain or stress: Heat is relaxing. Stiff, tense, and sore muscles can be relaxed and relieved with a little heat, and joints affected by arthritis pain are no different. Not only does heat relax muscles, it also stimulates blood flow and improves circulation, helps increases range of motion, and reduces stiffness in painful joints.

Which Types Of Heat Therapy Help Arthritis Pain

Knee Pain Relief Tips Including Hot and Cold Therapy

You can choose from the following popular types of heat therapy for arthritis pain:

  • disposable heat patches or belts available at most drugstores
  • hot packs
  • moist heating pad
  • therapeutic mixture of paraffin and mineral oil
  • warm bath
  • warm whirlpool or hot tub
  • warm, moist towel or cloth

You may also sit on a stool that has rubber tips for safety while letting the warm shower hit the affected area. The constant heat flowing on the arthritic joint or pain site helps to keep pain minimal and allows for easier movement.

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Briefly What Is Neuropathy

Neuropathy is a condition where there is some kind of damage to your peripheral nervous system. This involves an intricate network of nerves that leads from your brain, through your central nervous system in your spinal cord, and throughout all parts of your body.

When the nerve fibers in your body, arms and legs are stimulated, the nerves send a signal back to your brain. If there is damage to any of the nervous in your body, these nerves will misfire and send unpleasant signals to your brain. People with neuropathy report abnormal sensations like burning, tingling, numbness, and even paralysis. In order to alleviate these sensations, people try all kinds of treatments, including heat.

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When Should You Use A Heat Treatment For Bursitis

Heat / warming temperature treatments work best to increase blood flow circulation and reduce risk of a cyclic injury process. Warmer temperatures should be used approximately 3 to 5 days after you first have the injury once initial swelling has calmed down. For post-surgical recovery, heat should not be started for a least 2 weeks after surgery because inflammation levels will be very high as the healing process starts over again. Any use of heat should also be combined with gradual movement to stretch out your shoulder with the intent of increasing range of motion .

If you have a chronic bursitis injury that won’t seem to go away, you should use heat before activity to loosen up soft tissue in the joint . This treatment is shown to increase the elasticity of the soft tissue in and around the treatment area further to this, heat will also lengthen soft tissue. The benefits of increased length and flexibility of soft tissue mean it will be more pliable for activity and less likely to re-injure .

We believe the use of TShellz Wraps® for boosting blood flow in the area of application is one of the most under-utilized home treatment options available on the market today. We have client after client that have tried many options out there and have been amazed at how effective and fast the TShellz Wrap treatment can relieve pain and increase localized blood flow in the treatment area.

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When To Ice Or Heat An Injury

Our physical therapists and athletic trainers see injuries of all types at Rebound, whether theyre brought on by sports or everyday activities. This certified group has extensive experience helping patients overcome injuries, reclaim their mobility and live pain-free.

In honor of National Physical Therapy Month, one of our physical therapists has some expert advice on a popular topic: icing an injury versus heating an injury. When is the right time? What is the difference between the two?

Physical therapist Michael Baer fills us in on when to ice or heat an injury and some general rules of thumb below.

The best way to understand what type of injuries should be iced is to understand how your body reacts to injuries, says Baer. Knowing the difference between an acute injury and a chronic condition helps determine when its time for ice or heat.

What Types of Injuries Should You Apply Ice To?

Best practice is to apply ice to an acute injury or new injury. An acute injury, such as a sprain, involves tissue damage and inflammation around the injury site. Acute injuries are short-term injuries. Some common acute injuries:

  • Ankle sprain
  • Red, hot or swollen body part
  • Acute pain after intense exercise

Tips for Icing an Injury

Be sure to limit icing sessions to 20 minutes, because excessive icing can irritate the skin or cause tissue damage. Continue to ice the injury for the next 24-48 hours.

What Types of Injuries Should You Apply Heat To?

Tips for Heating an Injury

How Does Heat Work

Electric Knee Heating Pad Joint Warmer Auxiliary Therapy ...

When I say heat, what I mean is a warm compress, hot water bottle or wheat cushion applied to an area of skin around an injury. You could also get these effects from a hot bath or shower, but this would be a less targeted way of treating your knee.

Heat works roughly in the opposite way that ice works. It, too, has a number of effects to the body when applied around an injury:

  • Heat causes an effect called vasodilation to the blood vessels around an area which means a widening of the vessels, increasing blood flow to an injured site. You wouldnt want to use heat on a recently sprained ankle
  • Heat doesnt affect the nerves like ice does, but it does increase healthy blood flow to an area, which can speed up healing in some injuries . It also helps to flush away the nasties within the blood that invade an injured area.
  • Heat has an effect on the surrounding muscles and joints whereby it loosens them up by making the soft tissues more elastic. This basically means you get more flexibility in a body part just by heating it up! Try to stretch a muscle in the cold, then try to stretch the same muscle after a hot shower youll find you can stretch much further after the heat treatment.

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