Applying a cold and continuous temperature to the muscles is suitable for exercise recovery. Doing so relieves both pains and bruising resulting from the additional blood flow to an affected site.
Therefore, doctors recommend using cold applications for new injuries and applying heat to treat other types of muscular pain.
Knowing the differences can help you therapeutically improve your rate of recovery.
Whether you use heat or cold therapy, either of these treatment applications is designed to assist in healing, regardless of your fitness level.
So, if you’re feeling a twinge of pain, knowing how to offset it can make a big difference in how you think and pursue your daily activities.
- When Cold Therapy Works
- When Heat Treatments Work Best
- Muscular Aches that Benefit from Cold Applications
- Keep a Cold Therapy Unit Handy for Regular Pain Relief
When Cold Therapy Works
Apply cold shortly after exercise or after you’re injured. Cold also works for post-surgery applications.
Doing so reduces bruising and pain and relieves inflammation and swelling. Swelling is the body’s natural response, designed to keep you from further hurting yourself.
When Heat Treatments Work Best
It is best to apply heat for injuries over a couple of days old. Heat speeds up blood flow to treat recurring neck or back pain, ease headache pain, or alleviate joint discomfort or stiffness.
Muscular Aches that Benefit from Cold Applications
1. Use Cold on Ankle Sprains
If you happen to twist and sprain your ankle, a cold application will reduce the pain and swelling and get you back up on your feet much faster.
Remember the application of RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
For treatment, it’s best to use a cold therapy unit, which allows you to control the amount of cold and compression. Apply cold therapies for about 10 minutes, up to 5 times per day.
2. Apply Cold Treatments to Pulled Leg Muscles
If a workout or sports practice leads to a pulled leg muscle, the application of cold will do wonders for recovery. Because the cooling is controlled, a cold therapy machine is more effective than ice.
3. Relieve a Muscle Strain and Pain
While heat helps backache pain, you can still use a cold application on a back strain or shoulder strain. If you feel the pain of a strain, cold therapy will help you recover more quickly.
4. Take Care of a Quadricep Injury
The quadriceps represent the muscles covering the front and sides of the thigh. Sometimes, these muscles get damaged when you’re lifting weights or doing similar types of exercise.
The best way to keep the injury in check is to use a portable cold therapy unit that features pads that you can directly apply to the injured thigh.
5. Apply Cold to Wrist or Elbow Injuries
Cold applications also help relieve any soreness and pain experienced in the wrists and muscles.
For example, you can use cold therapy to treat a golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow, known medically as medial epicondylitis.
Keep a Cold Therapy Unit Handy for Regular Pain Relief
Besides relieving the muscular pain related to daily or sports activities, you can also apply cold to post-surgery pain.
As long as the pain or injury is new, cold applications provide the pain relief needed for a faster recovery.
Sandra is a health blogger based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. She loves being outdoors and exploring new places with her husband. She is a mom of two awesome kids and a dog named Luna!