Using heat and cold for pain

Feb 11 2:44pm | Joey Keillor | @joeykeillor | Comments (6)

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When you hurt from a minor strain or sprain to a muscle or tendon, it’s difficult to think about anything other than your pain. You want relief and you want it fast. Cold, heat or a combination of the two may help. Try these approaches to using these drug-free pain relief options:

  • Applying ice to a sore back, swollen knee or sprained ankle can numb the pain and may reduce some of the inflammation. Try wrapping an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a cloth and applying it to the painful area. Do this for the first day or two after your injury, every two to four hours. Don’t keep the cold wrap on the painful area for more than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Heat helps reduce pain by relaxing and loosening tense muscles, and it promotes blood and nutrients to speed healing. Use a heating pad or a moist towel warmed in the microwave and apply it to the painful area. Or you can take a warm bath or shower. Apply heat for up to 20 minutes three times a day. If you use a heating pad, never sleep with it.
  • Heat and cold. If you use both ice and heat, apply heat for 15 to 20 minutes, then a few hours later use ice for 15 to 20 minutes. Do this at spaced intervals throughout the day. By rotating between each temperature therapy, you’re reducing inflammation and loosening muscles simultaneously, increasing your chances of pain relief.

Some people find that ice works best for their pain. Others prefer heat or a combination of heat and ice. You may need to experiment to determine which is most effective for you.

 

HOT OFF THE PRESS!  This post is excerpted from Back and Neck Health, a new book from Mayo Clinic Press, available February 2021 wherever books are sold.

 

Oh – thanks, I've been doing this all wrong. I've put ice on for as long as I can and then heat too. I'll shorten both to 20 min intervals throughout the days.

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Helpful info.,thanks… I have 2 different sizes of those gel filled packs and there is space under meat drawer in my fridge so i store them there each one in a plastic bag… its surprising how cold they get…. and I also sew/make those rice-filled bags you can heat up in microwave if anyone wants to know how to make them – use sewing machine, 100 per cent cotton fabric and thread. I like them as you heat up for 2 minutes and they are not too hot, but they do lose the heat in abut 20 minutes but good if you have one on and fall asleep, no risk of falling asleep on an electric pad. You still have to make sure you do not get them too hot though! I don't make many any more cos of neuropathy in fingertips etc. and you can also buy them, but handy for around neck etc. You can also store in freezer part of fridge but I found they took on a food smell….so just use them warmed up – every night as always "something" on my body hurts! J.

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@lacy2

Helpful info.,thanks… I have 2 different sizes of those gel filled packs and there is space under meat drawer in my fridge so i store them there each one in a plastic bag… its surprising how cold they get…. and I also sew/make those rice-filled bags you can heat up in microwave if anyone wants to know how to make them – use sewing machine, 100 per cent cotton fabric and thread. I like them as you heat up for 2 minutes and they are not too hot, but they do lose the heat in abut 20 minutes but good if you have one on and fall asleep, no risk of falling asleep on an electric pad. You still have to make sure you do not get them too hot though! I don't make many any more cos of neuropathy in fingertips etc. and you can also buy them, but handy for around neck etc. You can also store in freezer part of fridge but I found they took on a food smell….so just use them warmed up – every night as always "something" on my body hurts! J.

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Thank you for sharing this a!!

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I’ve use the heat up bags filled with either corn, flaxseed or rice for over the last 20 years to warm up my bed before sleeping. I even give them as gifts to friends who now do the same. I expensive way to feel comfortable and pampered.

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@jocelynk

I’ve use the heat up bags filled with either corn, flaxseed or rice for over the last 20 years to warm up my bed before sleeping. I even give them as gifts to friends who now do the same. I expensive way to feel comfortable and pampered.

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Hi jocelynk Yes make great gifts too. I typed up an instruction page with each one as heard of someone who burned their's… just like we can burn food in microwave. One daughter heated hers too much too and got a slight burn…. I put in for 1 1/2 minutes. But should have microwave in my bedroom to re-heat, lol Thinking about it, adding up the years, its about 20 yrs for me too, I think thats when they first were in stores? Andyes, used to use cleaned oats from garden store… my daughter liked that as she said smelled like porridge when heated! I mailed one to my cousin in UK and it was over $40.00 air parcel post as so heavy but otherwise takes up to 3 months surface/boat. She's worth it tho! J.

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