Hot or cold therapy? What's best for you?

Ice therapy is a great choice for the first 72 hours after an injury because it helps reduce swelling, which causes pain. Ice feels good on a new injury because it temporarily decreases the amount of blood flow to the injured area. This can significantly reduce inflammation, pain and swelling. Try to get the ice applied as soon as possible after the injury. Cold slows blood flow, reducing swelling and pain. It's often best for short-term pain, like that from a sprain or a strain.

Heat therapy will usually ease the muscle stiffness after the inflammation resolves. It helps soothe stiff joints and relax muscles. Heat boosts the flow of blood and nutrients to an area of the body. It often works best for morning stiffness or to warm up muscles before an activity.  

Heat and ice can be used together in a n alternating pattern to create a "pumping" action in the circulatory system by restricting circulation to reduce swelling and then increasing circulation to a particular area.

Hot shower relief for sore muscles: Similar to the effect of a hot pack over sore muscles, a hot shower can help to relieve sore muscles, muscle tension and knots. The hot water also helps to increase blood circulation in the body that can considerably ease pain, stimulate healing and reduce inflammation.

Electric heating pads can get hot quickly and injure the skin, so it's important to use them correctly and with extreme caution. 

I hope this information gives some clarity for what is best for you. It's important to remember to consult your physician with any concerns or questions about appropriate care for your pain or injury.

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