Injuries, exercise and chronic conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia can cause aching joints and sore muscles. Although both ice and heat can ease knee pain, when is it best to use each one?
When Should You Use Ice?Icing is beneficial to an acute knee injury (less than six weeks old), such as:
- Meniscal tear
When you get injured, the white blood cells release chemicals that cause greater blood-flow and hence the tissues appear swollen, red and hot.
Ice is a a great way to numb the pain by causing blood vessels to narrow (called vasoconstriction), leading to decreased blood flow to the area. Because of this, icing can relieve inflammation, decrease swelling or bruising, and reduce soreness or pain. It also prevents muscle contraction and prevents the formation of scar tissue.
How to Apply IceWhen applying ice to your joint, use an ice pack, a bag of crushed ice, or even a frozen bag of vegetables. Apply the cold object directly over the affected area. Be sure to use a towel as a barrier to make the temperature tolerable.
Ice is most helpful when it's used for the first 24 hours after knee pain starts. If you apply ice to your joint, be sure to follow the 20 minutes on/20 minutes off rule.
Use caution when icing if you have any sensation issues, such as diabetic neuropathy or Raynaud’s syndrome, which can impact your ability to feel the cold and lead to frostbite or skin damage.
When should you Use heat?
Heat is excellent for muscle pain, stiffness, stress and chronic pain.
Unlike ice, heat increases the blood flow to your joint by widening (vasodilating) the blood vessels in the area. This makes it easier for oxygen and nutrients to reach your painful joints.
For people with arthritis or other joint issues that have been present for longer than six weeks, heat can help reduce pain and soreness. It can also improve your knee's flexibility and range of motion by relaxing the surrounding muscles before you stretch or begin an activity.
How to Apply Heat
If you have swelling, it's best to use ice for 24 hours, then switch to heat.
If swelling isn't a problem, it's fine to use heat when you first notice knee pain.
To administer heat to your knees, you can use a heating pad or hot water bottle or washclosh.
But pay attention, people with sensory issues should use caution with heat to avoid any burning or skin damage.
A heating pad or hot water bottle can cause burns if you use it too long or the temperature setting is too high. Stop using the heating pad sooner if it worsens your pain or your skin begins to look very red.
Best Choice for People with Chronic Knee Pain
For people with chronic pain in their knees or other joints, a combo of Cordless Infrared Deep Heating Knee Massager and Wormwood patches will be the best choice to immediately relieve pain.
Cordless Infrared Deep Heating Knee Massager has 3 vibration modes, from low, high, to automated switching. Three heating modes, from a low setting of 105°F, a medium of 122°F, to a high heating level of up to 140°F, and all with the extra benefit of switchable infrared and laser lighting.
Wormwood has long been sought for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. When apply it to your knee, the patch will self-heat and penetrate the herb medicine deep into the injured area of the muscle to effectively relieve pain. It won't burn your skin. And there is no side effect.
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