Chronic pain affects over 100 million Americans, and over 1.5 billion people worldwide. This means that chronic pain is affecting more people than diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and cancer combined! Lucky for us there are some great tips and products for homecare that can be used in order to reduce chronic pain, and improve quality of life. Some pain can be managed without using medication, and we are here to tell you how!
Hot and cold therapy is often used as a solution to relieve muscle and joint pain. Heat therapy works by opening up blood vessels in order to increase blood flow. Increasing blood flow in the area of pain supplies oxygen and nutrients, which in turn reduces pain in joints and relaxes sore muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Using hot packs will relieve pain and reduce muscle spasms. Heat therapy should be used if you have sore, stiff joints, or if you suffer from chronic muscle/joint pain. Here are some do’s and don’ts to remember when using heat therapy:
- Do use a thin towel or terry cover as a barrier, don’t apply a hot compress directly to the skin.
- Don’t apply heat for over 20 minutes, unless specified by doctor.
- Don’t use heat on open wounds.
- Don’t use heat therapy if you have poor circulation.
Contrary to hot therapy, cold therapy slows down the blood flow to injury which reduces pain and swelling. Cold therapy slows circulation in the area, reduces inflammation, which can lessen pain. If the area in pain is swollen or bruised, it is best to use cold therapy. Cold packs and compresses are best for sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises. Here are some tips on cold therapy:
- Don’t wait! Use for 24-48 hours after an injury for maximum relief.
- Do use an ice or gel pack wrapped in a terry cover or thin towel so the cold is not directly on the skin
- Don’t use cold therapy for over 20 minutes- remove cold for 10 minutes at a time and then reapply
Hot and cold therapy products have come a long way from a frozen bag of peas, hot water bottle, or a traditional hot/cold pack. Products that combine hot or cold therapy and compression, and even paraffin wax baths offer new and innovative ways to manage pain in the comfort of your home. For more information on these products and more check out EasierLiving.com!