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Heat or Cold?

Learn more about when to use heat and when to use cold.

What does it do?
Heat therapy opens blood vessels, which increases blood flow, relaxes muscles, and help alleviate pain.


When to use it?
Heat is a great way to loosen stiff joints and tight muscles. It is also a great way to ease the pain of tension headaches and other chronic conditions. Always wait 48-72 hours after being injured before considering heat therapy. When in doubt, use cold therapy first.

Safety Tips
  • Treat for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Do not fall asleep on a hot pack, because you could burn yourself.
  • Do not use heat if you have no feeling in the affected body part.
  • Never use heat if there is swelling or bruising.
  • Do not apply heat directly to the skin - use a thin towel as a buffer.
  • Do not use heat if you have poor circulation, such as if you have diabetes.
  • Wait 1 hour between heat treatments.

What does it do?
Cold therapy slows down the flow of blood to an injury, which reduces swelling, inflammation, and pain.

When to use it?
Cold therapy should be used right after an injury or after activity that aggravates a chronic condition. It is also great for migraine headaches, bruising, and sprains / strains that may occur with sports, slips & falls, and lifting. Cold therapy is also beneficial for minor burns by applying cold water from the faucet. When in doubt, use cold therapy.

Safety Tips
  • Treat for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.
  • During treatment, check skin every 5 minutes to make sure there is no damage, such as freeze burn (skin would become reddened or blistered, just as when burned with heat).
  • Do not apply cold directly to the skin - use a thin towel.
  • Wait 1 hour between cold treatments.

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