Science Bit

How Hot Cold Therapy Works

 

How Hot Cold Therapy Works

Cold Therapy

When you tear a muscle or sprain joints – soft tissue damage occurs, blood vessels rupture and the injury site begins to swell. Applying cold therapy to treat injuries yields the following benefits:

 
  
 
 

RICE Treatment Principles

The R.I.C.E technique involves all the components that are needed to prevent further injury to the damaged site immediately after the injury has been sustained. If applied correctly and in time the R.I.C.E technique can greatly reduce the recovery time. The R.I.C.E technique is the gold standard treatment of acute sporting injuries. The most important time in the treatment of acute sporting injuries is the first 24-48 hours.

The letters R.I.C.E are abbreviations for:

REST

Rest from any activity that increases your pain. It is also important to avoid activity that causes an increase in pain or ache even after rest following the activity (such as the next night or morning). Ideally lie down in a comfortable position to minimise bleeding, swelling and further damage. Rest may also involve the use of crutches, a protective brace, supportive taping or the use of a sling, etc.

  

ICE

Ice the injured area for 20 minutes every 2 hours. Use an ice pack wrapped in fabric. (N.B. People who are sensitive to cold or have circulatory problems should proceed with caution when implementing ice treatment).

 

COMPRESSION

Compress the injured area with an elasticated sleeve/wrap to help minimise swelling. If after applying the wrap/sleeve you experience pins and needles, numbness or any colour change in your extremities (e.g. foot or hand), the sleeve is too tight and is most likely restricting the circulation. It must, therefore, be loosened or even completely removed. You should also take off your elasticated sleeve before sleeping.

  

ELEVATION 

Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart (provided this does not cause an increase in pain) for as long as possible to minimise bleeding and swelling. Elevation can be achieved by lying down with foot on a cushion, or similar.

   

Heat Therapy

Heat Therapy is the application of heat to the body for pain relief. Heat is generally used for more long-term injuries that have no inflammation or swelling. Sore muscles and stiff joints are well suited to heat therapy. For sportspersons, heat can be applied before exercise, to increase elasticity. However, heat should NOT be used post-workout – ice is the preferred option in this situation.

Compression may also be combined with heating to warm an injured area much more quickly than heat therapy on its won. Due to increased contact with skin and increased tissue density, tissues will reach their optimal heated temperature quicker, and will maintain it for longer periods after the treatment ends. Heat therapy helps relieve pain and stiffness, and with the added component of compression, its benefits are fully optimised and achieved more quickly.

Note: Don’t heat the injured area for longer than 20-minute intervals, or whilst sleeping. 

   

Gel Bead Technology

The technology contained in every gel bead pack is an innovative approach to an age-old therapy. Taking influence from the traditional method of using a bag of frozen peas to apply cold therapy, gel bead packs were designed with the customer in mind. Whether chilled or heated, the gel bead packs conveniently hold their temperature for the medically advised time of 20 minutes and conforms to your body to deliver the perfect relief from your aches and pains.

Easily pliable when chilled or frozen, the gel bead technology can reach cold enough temperatures to effectively provide localised pain relief, whilst also maintaining a degree of flexibility that more traditional gel packs simply cannot achieve. Gel beads packs will stay soft and smooth on your skin.

When conveniently heated in a microwave, the gel bead pack is the perfect solution to relax your muscles and encourage blood flow and healing. Delivering consistent heat therapy directly to your desired relief area without a mess.