Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sports injuries and heat/Cold treatment

Cold Treatment

With any sprain, strain or bruise there is some bleeding into the underlying tissues. This may cause swelling, pain and delay healing. Cold treatment may be used in both the immediate treatment of soft tissue injuries and in later rehabilitation.

During immediate treatment, the aim is to limit the body's response to injury. Ice will:
  • Reduce bleeding into the tissues.
  • Prevent or reduce swelling.
  • Reduce muscle spasm and pain.
  • Reduce pain by numbing the area and by limiting the effects of swelling.
These effects all help to prevent the area from becoming stiff by reducing excess tissue fluid that gathers as a result of injury and inflammation.

In the later, or rehabilitation, phase of recovery the aims change to restoring normal function. At this stage the effects of ice can enhance other treatments such as exercise by reducing pain and muscle spasm. This then allows better movement. If you have to do exercises as part of your treatment it can be useful to do them with ice in place or immediately after it is removed when the area will still be a little numb. This reduces pain and makes movement around the injury more comfortable.

Sports injuries
Sports Therapy wrap
Ideally, ice should be applied within 5-10 minutes of injury for 20-30 minutes. This can be repeated every 2-3 hours or so whilst you are awake for the next 24-48 hrs.

After the first 48 hours, when bleeding should have stopped, the aim of treatment changes from restricting bleeding and swelling to getting the tissues remobilised with exercise and stretching. Ice helps with pain relief and relaxation of muscle tissue.

Do not use heat on a new injury (for example, soaking in a hot bath, using heat packs, hot water bottles, deep heat creams, etc). These will increase bleeding and make the problem worse.

When an injury is older than 48 hours, heat can be applied in the form of warm buddy heat packs. Heat causes the blood vessels to dilate (open wide) which brings more blood into the area. It also has a direct soothing effect and helps to relieve pain and spasm. If heat is applied to the skin it should not be hot, gentle warmth will suffice.

Again all Warm Buddy heat packs and wraps are ideal for the treatment of muscle pain and are approved medical devices for this purpose

Cold packs often gives better and longer-lasting effect on the circulation than heat provides. The painkilling properties of ice are also deeper and longer-lasting than heat.

Recent studies have found that heat wrap therapy proved to be more effective pain management for muscle pain than oral pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen...more info

Why use heat for pain relief..see here

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