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Heat or Cold for pain?

Heat pack or ice pack? That is the question I hear a lot in my clinic when it comes to treating pain.

General rule is if its fresh, hot, swollen, painful and inflamed we need to apply cold to bring down the bodies inflammatory response.

Then, if its a chronic, ongoing & stiff feeling then we need to apply heat therapy, in the form of a heat pack/hot water bottle etc. Heat promotes blood flow into the area, providing oxygen and nutrients to starved tissue. Heat also tricks the brain into believing it is pain free. Known as ‘Gate control Theory’, heat signals faster to the brain, quicker than pain signals and closes off painful nerve input… So the body feels the sense of heat and pleasure over pain. Interesting stuff.

Here are a few ways to use heat or cold to treat pain.

Wishing you a pain free day!

Rachael :)


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