Most diseases, small or big, acute or chronic, accident or infection, have one common factor - pain. In most cases, in addition to reducing the severity of the infection or the impact on various structures from the trauma, managing pain assumes a bigger role. It is only when the pain is controlled can the bigger picture of disease management be done, as the patient would be inconsolable.
To this effect, in addition to painkillers, the most inexpensive and easily available modes of pain management are heat and cold. Though all are not aware, there are specific instances where heat and cold should be used as listed below.
Heat: Some of the common modes to heat therapy include heat pads, warm baths, paraffin wax system, hot water bottles, air-activated heat pack, or warm oils. Heat acts by improving blood circulation and nutritional supply to the body parts and is best suited for stiff joints and muscle soreness.
Some common ways to heat therapy include:
1. A warm shower or bath in the morning - this will ease morning stiffness and get you ready for exercise.
2. Apply a heating pad on the sore/stiff areas for up to 20 minutes - Use optimal, bearable temperature to avoid skin burns.
3. Wrap the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes with a moist heat pad. A wet towel can be put in the freezer and then warmed up in the microwave. Moist heat pads are also available with local pharmacies.
4. Warm mineral oils can be applied to the stiff joints of hands and legs. Leave it in place for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off.
5. For sore hand and foot joints, warm paraffin wax can be applied using the equipment available at drug stores. This will help ease the pain and soreness. Soak in a warm whirlpool.
Contrary to heat therapy, cold therapy acts by reducing blood flow to the affected area and numbing the nerve endings, thereby reducing the perception of pain. It works well for acute pain cases like fresh injuries and post-exercise inflammation.
1. A cold wrap with ice cubes can be applied to the painful area for about 15 to 20 minutes. This can be repeated if required after a break.
2. Alternately, a wet towel can be put in a plastic bag and kept in the freezer for 15 minutes and then used as a cold pack.
3. The affected joint can be submerged in a container of ice and water.
4. Cold gel packs are available at stores - these won't leak, will stay cold longer and can be easily wrapped around a joint.
Cryotherapy, as cold therapy is also called, is not as effective as heat therapy, though it does provide immediate relief.
CoolSculpting is a fat reduction procedure that works on the principle of freezing fat or cellulite. It is a non-invasive and non-surgical therapy that cools the subcutaneous fat cells under the skin without harming the skin tissue. Here are the things you need to know before you opt for CoolSculpting:
1. CoolSculpting is very effective for body sculpting and reducing weight. This process can eliminate love handles, tires around the abdomen, thighs and sagging arms. It also burns the fat collected in the upper back.
2. The applicator targets only the fatty regions, cools the subcutaneous fat cells. The cooled fat cells crystallize and get destroyed without harming any other cell.
3. The process works on both men and women, though the techniques might differ slightly because of fat deposition in males and females vary in terms of location.
4. The fat freezing treatment can reduce fat cells by up to 25% in each treated region.
5. CoolSculpting is done with the help of computer regulated devices which are sensitive to the changing temperatures of the various layers of tissue. This avoids complications like over cooling or unnecessary cooling of cells.
6. It different from exercise and dieting as they decrease the size of the fat cells while CoolSculpting reduces the number of fat cells.
7. Untreated areas of the body will not have any change in the distribution of fat cells.
8. The cells are expelled from the system because other healthy cells eat the dead fat, so there is no risk of fat cell migration to other body parts.
9. The cold also causes a certain amount of firmness in the treated areas.
10. It does not require anaesthesia, incisions, any invasive procedure, post-therapy recovery time or lifestyle changes.
11. The treatment can be administered on the abdomen, thighs, chin upper arms and male breast.
12. The effects of CoolSculpting are long term because the fat cells are eliminated.
13. The clinician discusses the approach with you before the treatment. The schedule, number of sessions, number of areas being treated per session- all these factors are customized to fit your specific requirement.
14. People are only advised against Cool Sculpting if they suffer from Donath Landsteiner Syndrome (presence of haemoglobin in the urine) or Cryoglobulinemia (presence of insoluble protein in the blood) - both caused by exposure to cold.
15. Side effects are very rare and curable.