Hot and Cold Therapy to Reduce Swelling | Clinical Medicine | Medical Specialties

Hot and Cold Therapy to Reduce Swelling

Alternating Ice and Heat Can Effectively Bring Down Swelling
• • Aug 15, 2009 Terry Zeigler

warm whirlpool - stock xchng Alternating hot and cold therapies can be used safely after the first 48 hours of an injury to reduce swelling. A variety of hot and cold therapies can be used. Ice is the appropriate and effective therapy immediately post-injury and for the first 48 hours. Ice is used during the first 48 hours to slow down the blood flowing into an injured area thereby reducing the amount of blood pooling into the area (swelling). The goal of the first stage of rehabilitation after an injury is physiological containment of the damaged area. Depending on the type and location of the injury, a number of types of cryotherapy can be used during the first stage including ice pack, ice immersion, cold whirlpool, chemical packs, and even frozen peas (good to keep in the freezer as they contour effectively to an area). When using cold therapy, care must be taken to ensure that there is no damage to the skin or allergic reaction to the ice. Ice should not be placed directly on the skin. A barrier should be used (paper towel, washcloth) to protect the underlying skin from getting too cold. Ads by Google Download Google Chrome Searching is fast and easy with Google's web browser. Techni ice Australia Reusable Dry Ice Packs & Gel packs Stays frozen for days

How Hot/Cold Therapy Works
Once the swelling has stopped increasing (usually at the 48 hour mark, but may vary depending on the severity of the injury), a combination of hold and cold therapies can then be applied to help reduce the swelling that has accumulated. The hot and cold therapies work together as a type of physiological pump to assist in moving the blood out of the area. The cold therapies reduce circulation to an area (vasoconstriction) while the hot therapies increase circulation to an area (vasodilation). The alternating cold and hot therapies act together to pump the extra fluid out of the injured area. The key is in the combination of the cold and hot therapies. Hot/cold therapies are safe for injuries of the extremities (foot, ankle, wrist, hand) and not designed for full body immersion.

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The time for each cold or hot treatment is three to five minutes with a total treatment time of fifteen to twenty-five minutes. Possible combinations include: • • • • • Ice pack/hydrocollator Cold whirlpool/warm whirlpool Ice immersion/warm bath Frozen peas/microwave heat pack Ice pack/jacuzzi Care must be taken not to use temperatures that exceed 100 degrees for the heat portion of the Hot and Cold Therapies for Pain and Discomfort Written by Dana L.suite101. Heat increases circulation to an area. This can significantly increase the swelling in a new injury. In between each cold therapy is a hot therapy. Hot/cold therapy can be performed once or twice a day beginning on the third day post-injury or when the swelling has stabilized. A typical hot/cold treatment would include three ice therapies and two hot therapies. This therapy can be continued as long as necessary until the swelling is gone. Reviewed by Mary Rodts. Applying heat will increase the blood flow to the area allowing the blood to flow freely from torn blood vessels into surrounding tissue. DNP and Graeme Keys. There may be multiple small and large torn blood vessels in and around an injured area. MPT and Susan Spinasanta. http://www.Bowed Tendons Heat Versus Ice When Injured The general rule is to always begin and end the treatment session with a cold therapy. PT. Read more at Suite101: Hot and Cold Therapy to Reduce Swelling: Alternating Ice and Heat Can Effectively Bring Down Swelling | Suite101. Contraindications of Thermotherapy It is important to note that heat therapy should never be used immediately post-injury. The thermotherapy does not have to be too hot to be effective when used in combination with a cold therapy.• • • The Management of Osteoarthritis Pain Without Drugs Equine Health . Dip MDT . Combinations of Hot/Cold Therapy There are many variations in the types of cryotherapy and thermotherapy that can be used in hot/cold therapy.

should be placed between the cold agent and the skin's surface to prevent skin and nerve damage. and pain. Hot and cold agents should always be used with caution. The warmth decreases muscle spasm. relaxes tense muscles. dry or moist heating pads. as the chemical agent/gel will burn skin. It is a good idea to seek the advice of a healthcare professional prior to use. including hot and moist compresses. non-invasive. Superficial cold is available in many forms. and non-addictive therapies. usually less than 15 minutes. muscle spasm. Cold Packs and Cold Therapy (Cryotherapy) Cold therapy produces vasoconstriction. ice cubes. hydrotherapy. iced towels/compresses. A barrier. and can increase range of motion. . including a variety of commercial cold packs. relieves pain. Punctured commercial hot packs should be immediately discarded. The effect of cold is known to last longer than heat. and removes cell wastes. and forms of hydrotherapy.Heat and ice are the two most common types of passive. Heat and cold can be used alternatively and are often used as a prelude to exercise therapy. The duration of cold therapy is less than heat therapy. Hot packs in any form should always be wrapped in a towel to prevent burns. such as a towel. Cold or ice should never be applied directly to the skin. which slows circulation reducing inflammation. as the chemical agent/gel will burn skin. Increased blood flow delivers needed oxygen and nutrients. and commercial chemical/gel packs. Punctured commercial cold packs should be immediately discarded. You may be interested in these related articles: • • • • What is a Physical Therapist? Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Physical Therapy: The McKenzie Method® Ultrasound: A Common Treatment Used in Physical Therapy Superficial heat is available in many forms. Hot Packs and Heat Therapy Heat therapy induces vasodilation: drawing blood into the target tissues.

• Bruises: apply cold to the bruised area to temporarily relieve pain. More importantly. Cold therapy: It has been found that cold applications (ice packs. • • • . and therefore help to reduce local swelling. swelling and stiffness following an injury. by containing the severity of swelling.C. Apply compression with an elastic bandage. R = Rest. If the skin has been broken. Heat can be used to provide effective relief from the aches and pain associated with sore muscles and stiff joints. I = Ice. and Compression Therapy for Injuries Charles H. Once swelling has subsided (about 2-3 days or so). Cold and compression are medically recommended therapies for the first 72 hours after an injury to help reduce local pain and swelling. Avoid over-exertion or weight bearing on the injured body part. Apply cold to the injury as described below. Jacksonville Medical Park The modalities of hot. the application of heat will help reduce pain and promote healing.E. Cold. be sure to apply a sterile dressing to the area before applying cold. cold compresses. often identified as R. Afterwards. Toothaches: apply cold to the cheek or jaw to help temporarily relieve discomfort.) to the surface of the body will cause a contraction of the small blood vessels in that area. a cold application will also help relieve any pain in the area by reducing the sensitivity of local nerve endings.I. Many first-aid authorities recommend the simultaneous use of cold and compression therapy. Co-Founder and Editor. cold and compression have a very appropriate role in the treatment of most injuries. For this reason it is common to have inflammation. possible bleeding. This will have an immediate effect on reducing the flow of blood and other fluids through that area. 1. there is a migration of white blood cells into the region of the injury. The following specific problems respond especially well to cold therapy. minimize swelling and reduce black-and-blue marks. An addition. frozen gel packs. Insect Bites: apply cold to the bitten area to help relieve itching and reduce swelling. E = Elevation. The swelling must be reduced before full recovery can occur.D. the application of cold and compression can have a significant impact on helping to promote healing and speed recovery from that injury. As long as swelling persists and circulation is congested. etc. and a leakage of fluid from damaged tissues into the area. Simple Headache: apply cold to the painful area to help relieve the discomfort. The healing process requires increased blood flow into the area of an injury to support the process of cellular growth. M.Hot. Booras. the healing process is delayed or retarded. What follows is further detail about each of these three therapies. Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart (about even with the lower portion of the breast) to help drain the area of excessive fluid accumulation. The immediate result of almost all injuries involving the soft tissues (muscles tendons and ligaments) includes pain. frozen bag of peas. therapy. C = Compression.

. One should not sit. If the injury is somewhat severe. Heat Therapy: Heat Therapy (hot compress. place a paper towel on the skin before applying cold and then wrap the cold product in place with an elastic bandage. This type of treatment can be repeated several times a day. heating pad. To aid recuperation from an injury. the cold can be applied 2-3 times in a row for 15-20 minutes each with a 30-minute rest between applications. Be careful not to apply an excessively cold product directly to the skin surface. One should limit the application of heat to no more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time four times daily. etc. Relieve sore and stiff joints.• Muscle Spasms: applying cold to the spastic area will help temporarily relieve discomfort. Leave the cold product in place for approximately 15-25 minutes and elevate the involved joint or limb to about heart level if possible. Moist heat will penetrate more deeply than dry heat. Proper use of heat can… • • • • Relieve muscle aches and pain. At the very least. When used properly. Cold therapy can be applied every two hours during the initial 72 hours after an injury. Do not apply heat to broken and/or sensitive skin. microwaved gel pack. 2.) promotes blood flow and enhances healing. lean or bear weight on the hot compress. Temporarily relieve discomfort from arthritis. Relieve the discomfort of muscle tension and cramping. heat should only be used after swelling has subsided and after cold therapy has already been used. cold therapy can help reduce the severity of symptoms and the time required for recovery. Do not fall asleep on a heating pad! People with nerve or circulatory problems (such as advanced diabetes) should not use heat unless otherwise prescribed by a physician.

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