There isn’t much in life that you don’t need to prepare for. You prepare for work, for children, for vacation, for taxes, etc. It is often what you do before and after that makes the difference and preparing effectively makes the activity or event that much more enjoyable. So why not prepare for your leisure or athletic activities as well? A great way to prepare, both before and after you perform, is through heat and cold therapy.
Heat and cold therapy is incredibly popular and useful in all levels of sport. But do we really understand why or how?
What does heat do?
In general, heat therapy contributes to better blood flow. Blood flow keeps the muscles functioning properly by providing them with proper amounts of oxygen and nutrients. Additionally, proper blood flow helps the body eliminate the waste that builds up in areas that are used heavily during physical activity.
Applying heat to certain areas increases the amount of blood your heart pumps to that region. For this reason, heat therapy is a great method for injury prevention and rehabilitation by reducing pain and alleviating tension.
What does cold do?
By contrast, cold therapy slows blood flow down. This method is great to help reduce the risk of injury like cramps, spasms and inflammation. By restricting your blood vessels, swelling is reduced and numbing of pain is experienced.
When to use each?
In general, as your mother always said, use cold therapy for newer injuries and heat therapy for long standing issues. However, depending on your specific needs, both types of therapies can co-exist and aid in your prevention and recovery.
Regardless of which therapy you choose, general guidelines are to apply each to a specific area for no more than 10-15 minutes each. Any longer than 20 minutes can cause long lasting damage rather than benefit. Additionally, in order to avoid the risk of burning or frostbite, do not apply either therapy directly to your skin. It is recommended to use a sheet or towel as a barrier.
So, in addition to all the basics of staying hydrated, getting good nutrition and proper rest, heat and cold therapy should be a part of your regimen. That is why we at Dr. Soothe created the BackRelieve vest. It is so easy to use and provides all the benefits mentioned above.
Focusing on your neck, shoulders, spine and lower back, the BackRelieve provides immediate pain relief results using compression. Additionally, the vest is fashionable, adjustable and made from antimicrobial materials.
For more information on our vest and how to get yours today, please visit Dr. Soothe.