You may have questions before beginning cold or heat therapy, and the experts at medcom group strive to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information on all the therapeutic equipment we offer. If you have more questions about cold or heat therapy that we do not cover in the following article, don’t hesitate to contact our team today!

What is cold and heat therapy? 

Cold and heat therapy involves the application of cold or warm temperatures for therapeutic and healing results. Cold therapy requires exposing your body or areas of your body to temperatures below approximately 60°F using ice, cold water, or other equipment that generates cold temperatures. Heat therapy requires exposing your body or specific areas of your body to warm temperatures between approximately 100-160°F using specially designed heat pads or wraps. 

What is cold and heat therapy for? 

Cold and heat therapy have similar and different applications. They both help by soothing aches and pains caused by arthritis, back pain, neck pain, or fibromyalgia. Consider using either cold or heat therapy to ease the following symptoms:

  • Muscle aches, spasms, and pains
  • Lower and upper back pain
  • Stiff, swollen, or tender joints
  • Neck stiffness
  • Finger, hand, or wrist pain
  • Knee pain

Cold therapy can also be used to slow blood flow, reduce swelling and inflammation, and help reduce pain by dampening the pain signals that flow from the site of an injury to the brain. Heat therapy can be used specifically to boost the flow of blood and nutrients to a damaged area of the body and it can help reduce stiffness and warm up muscles before activity. 

How does cold and heat therapy work? 

Cold therapy primarily works by reducing blood flow to a specific part of the body. By reducing blood flow, cold therapy can ease swelling and inflammation that causes pain while also reducing nerve activity that also eases pain. 

Heat therapy works in the exact opposite way. Heat therapy increases blood flow to a particular area of the body which helps deliver more nutrients, such as oxygen, white blood cells, and platelets, which help speed up the healing process of injured or strained muscles. 

Can cold therapy treat or cure injuries? 

While neither cold nor heat therapy can act as a direct cure for injuries, they can both significantly help the healing process. Cold therapy is an integral part of the “R.I.C.E” rehabilitation process (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). It can help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation for help recovering from injuries. Heat therapy also does not cure an injury, but it acts as a suitable treatment method that speeds up recovery. 

Is cold and heat therapy scientifically proven? 

Cold and heat therapy are time-tested healing strategies. Read up on the latest scientific literature that reviews their effectiveness in pain relief and recovery from injury

Is cold and heat therapy safe? 

While cold and heat therapy are generally safe, there are some risks associated if not done carefully. Extensive cold exposure, for example, can lead to frostbite, hypothermia, heart arrhythmias, and even heart attacks. Heat therapy also poses a risk for individuals with heart conditions such as arrhythmia, and its ability to increase swelling and inflammation can be harmful. Heat therapy is not recommended immediately after physical activity, after injury, or during an infection.

Do not use cold or heat therapy if you have: 

  • Blood/circulation problems
  • A heart condition & you are applying the cold/heat to the upper part of your body 
  • Broken/thin skin or an unhealed wound in the area where you are applying the cold/heat
  • Reduced skin sensation.
  • A patch that delivers drugs into your system in the area where you are applying cold/heat
  • Unstable medical conditions e.g. diabetes, epilepsy
  • If you are unsure if it is safe to apply this treatment please seek the advice of your
  • physiotherapist/doctor.

Does cold and heat therapy hurt? 

Cold and heat therapy should not hurt if done correctly, but they may cause some discomfort. Putting cold or hot items directly on your skin, for example, could damage your skin and potentially feel painful. It is recommended that you use cold and heat therapy as directed by a doctor or healthcare provider and the instructions of particular devices. In general, it is always advisable to wear a layer between the cold/heat wrap and your skin. 

Can cold and heat therapy be done at home? 

Yes! Cold and heat therapy is easily accomplished at home or even on the move depending on what type of cold and heat therapy equipment you use. 

Does cold and heat therapy require me to lie down or be immobile?

No, they do not. Some cold and heat therapy equipment may require you to be immobile while others allow you to move around while it is attached. 

Will workers’ compensation pay for cold and heat therapy? 

Yes! In most cases, all or a significant amount of the cost is covered by work compensation plans. 

What is a Nice1 Cold and Compression Therapy System

Nice1 Cold and Compression Therapy System is one of our highest-recommended cold therapy devices. It allows for a well-rounded completion of the R.I.C.E recovery method by creating a cold environment for an injured part of your body while simultaneously applying compression. 

Contact the Experts 

Cold and heat therapy are proven methods for helping the recovery and rehabilitation process for injuries or other forms of musculoskeletal pain. If you’re considering cold or heat therapy for yourself or someone you care for, contact the professionals at the medcom group to get connected with the best possible equipment for your needs.