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 to 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 pain killers, 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:
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.
Cryotherapy, as cold therapy is also called, is not as effective as heat therapy, though it does provide immediate relief.