How to Reduce Muscle Aches with Hot/Cold Therapy
Sometimes it seems like existence is just one damn ache after another.
We’re not straying into philosophy here, we mean it literally. Headache, neck strain, back pain, aching feet, a seemingly infinite assortment of muscle aches—the human body appears to have an endless repertoire of complaints. And modern life encourages them. Who doesn’t go home sporting a new ache after a long day’s work, or an otherwise fun morning on the tennis court?
There’s a form of relief, happily, that’s simple, inexpensive, and non-invasive: heat therapy and cold therapy.
Which to use for what?
Cold therapy is most often applied to a new or acute injury. It lowers the temperature of the injured tissue, which reduces its metabolic rate and helps the tissue through the immediate period following the injury. It can also reduce inflammation and swelling of joints swollen, for example, by arthritis.
Heat therapy dilates the blood vessels in the muscles where heat is applied, increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients and thus promoting healing. It also relaxes these muscles and provides a general sense of comfort.
Some people who’ve suffered from low back pain, for example (61 percent of Americans, says the American Physical Therapy Association) have learned a helpful routine: cold at the first onset of a new ache, followed later by heat.
More good news: There are products that effortlessly toggle between heat and cold therapy, and they’re so much more convenient and comfortable than the rubber hot water bags and crunchy icepacks of prehistoric times. We have the Body Wrap, a stylish 25-inch by 8-inch bag that can cool in the freezer or warm in the microwave, and provide flexible comfort to any segment of your aching body. There’s also the heart-shaped Heart Warmer pillow, the Neck Wrap ideally shaped for neck and shoulder aches, and the Spa Eye Mask for relieving tired eyes, headaches, and even migraines.
That’s quite an array of products. But humanity has quite an array of aches and pains.