When discomfort and soreness strike from injury, strenuous activity, surgery, or any chronic or acute condition, you want relief.
And naturally, you want it fast. You want the freedom to get back into life and the activities you love most. Without stiffness or pain.
To get that relief, if you’re like many others, you reach for something cold or hot.
Cold and heat bring comforting relief, can soothe achy joints, and reduces swelling.
As you’ll soon see, whether you choose heat or cold can make a big difference in
how you feel and how quickly your injury or condition begins its healing process.
Cold and heat accomplish the same end result, but how they do it is what makes the difference. Plus, the type of heat or cold you choose can matter, too.
Once you understand the simple workings behind these two basic treatments, you’ll know exactly how to maximize your body's innate healing mechanisms.
When Your Muscles Go Into Spasm…
Let’s take a look at what happens when you overdo it – whether from pulling weeds out of your garden or pushing yourself through your workout routine.
When one or more of your muscles go into spasm, your body reacts to this "injury" by sending more white blood cells to the site.
These extra white blood cells can interfere with the red blood cells’ routine tasks of carrying oxygen and nutrients to the injured area. Waste products stagnate and accumulate in the affected tissue.
A lack of oxygen to the site can also stimulate a “pain-spasm cycle” where the nerves send “pain” signals to your brain. In response, your brain contracts the muscles near the injury to close off blood supply and prevents swelling.
So starts a vicious cycle that can lead to more spasms and more pain. Even worse, unless the cycle is broken, it can continue for years.
One of the best – and easiest ways – to break this cycle is to use heat and cold.
Heat brings more blood to the area, providing much needed oxygen and nutrients while removing waste products.
Both heat and cold help shut down the nerves that fire the pain signals. When the pain messages can’t reach the brain, muscles don’t contract and constrict blood flow to the injured area.
Applying heat or cold consistently for a sufficient period of time can help break the pain-spasm cycle.
Heat or Cold… Which Works Best?
Since heat and cold can accomplish similar results in the end, how do you know which one to use?
Here’s a good rule to follow:
When an injury first occurs, use cold. This could be discomfort caused by trauma, such as over-exercising, lifting something heavy, or it could be from something as simple as sitting too long in a less-than-optimal position.
Or the injury may be an acute flare-up of a chronic condition.
Whatever the source of your acute injury, use cold first. Cold lowers the damaged tissue’s temperature and locally constricts blood vessels.
Using cold therapy immediately after an injury helps prevent bruising and swelling from the waste and fluid build-up. Cold also helps numb nerve endings, providing you with instant, localized pain relief.
Ideally, use cold treatments for the first 48 to 72 hours. Apply for 20 minutes, then remove for 20 minutes. Start early and repeat as often as you can.
What kind of cold treatment should you use?
There’s ice, of course, if it’s available. However, you want to take great care in protecting your skin from the intense cold. Always use a cloth or towel wrap.
Gel packs are an excellent choice as they’re convenient and easy to use. Before you choose a gel pack, know what’s inside. Many are filled with toxic chemicals that can eventually leak.
Whichever option you use, to get the best benefits from cold treatment, be sure to use a wrap over the ice pack to improve the contact with your skin and to compress the injured area to minimize swelling.
When Heat is the Answer
After the first two or three days of an acute injury, many people prefer the comforting warmth of heat therapy.
Heat therapy aids the flow of blood to the tissue, so it can provide the most benefits during the reparative stage of an injury. Greater blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients to your cells along with removal of waste materials.
If your injury is chronic and ongoing without swelling, then heat may be your best choice. Along with stimulating blood flow, soothing heat helps your muscles relax and can help increase a joint’s range of motion.
Heat is best used with…
- Chronic injuries that are sore or stiff
- Injured muscles as a pre-workout warm-up
- Joint discomfort
Warmth promotes repair of muscular tissue and helps ease muscular and joint discomfort associated with chronic injuries.
Always use a barrier between the heat and your skin, such as a cloth or towel to prevent burns. You don’t want to apply heat for any longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
What’s the best way to apply heat?
Probably the one many people tend to use, and the method I do not recommend, is an electric heating pad. Just like electric or heated blankets, these electrical appliances can subject you to potentially dangerous electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s).
Instead, use a heated water bottle or other water-warmed compress.
Alternating heat and cold is often recommended by physical therapists, clinicians, and trainers. Apply heat for 20 minutes and then immediately follow with 20 minutes of cold.
My Choice for an Affordable, Non-Toxic Option
for BOTH Hot and Cold Treatment
I have discovered a line of innovative hot and cold therapy solutions that I believe offers some of the greatest advantages for fast and comfortable support for injuries.
And the best part is, you can use them for either hot or cold therapy. In my opinion, this one fact makes these unique products superior in both convenience and cost.
The professional grade Mercola Hot & Cold Therapy Gel Pack and Premium Hot & Cold Therapy Sleeves are:
- Non-toxic filling
- Reusable (a real plus for the environment)
- Easily interchangeable from hot to cold temperatures
- Made with non-toxic soft and comfortable polyurethane
- Quickly heats in hot water (recommended method for heat therapy)
- Safe for use in freezer, refrigerator, hot water, and microwave
- Easy to use; sleeves stay in place
- Made in the U.S.A.
Cold Therapy that’s Portable, Non-Toxic and Drip-Free, Too
Safely stored in your freezer, your Mercola Hot & Cold Therapy Gel Pack is ready to go whenever you need soothing comfort.
The latex-free bag filled with a flexible non-toxic gel never freezes solid and remains flexible to mold easily to any part of your body.
Measuring a generous 10 by 13-1/2 inches, now you can treat large areas, such as your back or hips at one time.
The pack can be used repeatedly throughout the day as part of a pain management program or for occasional use after workouts or injury.
The Mercola Hot & Cold Therapy Gel Pack goes directly from the freezer to hot water or a microwave. Its versatility makes it a practical and economical alternative to traditional ice bags or expensive one-time-use instant hot pads.
360° Coverage Delivers Deep Soothing Comfort
Right Where it’s Needed – And it’s Hand-Free!
Our Premium Hot & Cold Therapy Sleeves roll on gently, stay put, and feel soft and comfortable on your arm, wrist, hand, foot or knee. The non-toxic gel molds to the area of application for deep relief.
Our Premium Therapy Sleeves come in 3 convenient sizes:
- Large – for feet, calves, and knees, 6” diameter X 6” long
- Medium - for hands, wrists, and arms, 5” in diameter x 6” long
- Small - for hands, wrists, and arms, 4” in diameter x 6” long
With our Hot & Cold Therapy Sleeves, you'll find…
- No uncomfortable straps
- Sleeve design surrounds limb
- Does not freeze, stays flexible
- Time saving – just grab and go!
- Excellent for pre & post-surgery treatment
- Soft touch construction
- Cost effective
- Reusable and long lasting – replaces those pricy one-use packs!
- Includes compression sleeve for insulation and injury compression
- Exclusive radial form surrounds the treatment area and helps lower the temperature of tissues
You'll appreciate the soothing comfort to your hand, wrist, arm, foot, calf or knee. Whether you suffer from a repetitive stress injury, a pulled muscle, joint stiffness or a chronic ailment, our Therapy Sleeves can help you get back into your game.
Go For the Ultimate in Comfort Today
Here's another potential win-win for you…
When you properly use cold and hot therapy, you are helping nature repair your body, without potentially harmful side effects.
Order your Mercola Hot & Cold Therapy Gel Pack and Premium Hot & Cold Therapy Sleeves today so you can be ready for whatever life throws your way.
Get the ultimate in comfort and give your body the support it deserves.
Better yet, order two so you have instant cold and hot therapy right at your fingertips when you need it most.