What are the ins and outs of hot and cold pain treatments? Two camps provide strong opposing arguments: one of them supports the use of cold compresses, while the other supports the use of heat therapy (such as hot stone kit massages). Regardless of which type of treatment with which you avail, here are some tips that can guide you in deciding which type of treatment is more appropriate:
1. Use ice treatments for strains and injuries within 48 hours
Ironically, even with all of today’s medical wonders, ice remains a simple yet effective method for treating sore necks and backs. You can use this treatment solely, or combine it with other types of treatments. When treating fresh injuries, ice can provide several benefits, including:
• lower swelling
• reduced tissue damage
• fewer muscle spasms
• decreased pain
2. Apply cold treatments immediately after the pain begins
Make sure to apply the ice treatment within about 20 minutes of a back or neck injury. Also, never apply the ice directly onto the injury. That could actually worsen your situation. The ice serves as a way to relax the muscles. That fact may seem odd—heat treatment has the same objective, right? That brings us to the next important tip regarding hot and cold treatments for pain…
3. Heat seems to be more effective in blood circulation
Heat therapy for pain, such as a hot stone massage, is an excellent means of improving your blood circulation. The therapist places heated and sanitized stones onto key points of your body. That includes the largest stones on your shoulders and ribs, and mid-sized stones on either side of your spinal cord. Aside from boosting blood flow, heat therapy provides several advantages, for instance a discharge of toxic compounds, much more flexible muscles, and a comforting of your psyche.
4. Avoid heat therapy when muscles are swollen or damaged
In the case that muscle tissue has become damaged, or muscles are swollen, you should not undergo heat therapy, such as hot stone massages. Cold treatments, such as a cold compress, would be more advisable. You could also consider receiving a cold stone massage, which typically includes marble instead of basalt.
5. Verify that the temperature of the heat treatment is proper
This is very important, to ensure that you do not experience burning or discomfort. The ideal temperature range for the stones in a hot stone massage is 120°-150° Fahrenheit. If you are receiving a hot stone massage, it is important to communicate with the therapist, whenever necessary. If the stones seem too hot, then inform the therapist immediately. Otherwise, he or she could wrongly assume that the temperature of the stones is ideal.
When suffering various types of pain, such as back pain, one of the biggest options you have, is whether to use hot or cold treatments. The aforementioned tips will hopefully dispel wrong beliefs about which kinds of treatments are more ideal for certain situations. The goal of hot and cold treatments remains the same: pulverizing pain!
Mary Singleton regularly writes for AML Stone Source, the leading hot stone massage supplies provider. They carry such products as basalt stones, as well as many other accessories for hot and cold stone therapy.