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Hot and Cold compress

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Hot and Cold compress is very good treatment for treating different kinds of pain in different parts of body.

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Let us see  what Is a Compress?
Hot and cold compresses can either be store-bought or homemade—which one  we choose is simply a matter of convenience. A cold compresses can be anything from gel packs that are placed in the freezer, to ice-wrapped in a clean cloth or a plain old bag of frozen corn. Heat compresses  can be applied in many kinds or forms such as hot water, hot towel heating pads, deep heating rubs, microwavable gel packs and ultrasound.

Hot compress is the application of heat to any part of the body to relieve certain kinds of pain.  All of these tools can help in applying hot compress to  affected part of our body. On the other hand  cold compress  can also relieve pain. Cold compress can reduce both swelling and pain in the affected area of the body. In cases such as pulled muscles and strains cold compress is very useful.

The Hot Compress
A hot compress is normally recommended for chronic conditions such as tight muscles, menstrual cramps and arthritic pain. A  hot compress provides “heat therapy” which helps to reduce muscle spasms and is applied as often as needed. But heat therapy is only applied to the affected area for short periods of time—usually no more than 20 minutes.

Two Compresses, One Injury
There are times when it is necessary to use both hot and cold compression on a single soft-tissue injury. The most important thing to remember about any soft-tissue injury is that in order for it to heal, swelling must be relieved.  Cold compress will help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with soft-tissue injuries and should be utilized for the first 72 hours after the injury occurs. A heat compress is then applied after 72 hours (only if swelling has subsided) to promote blood flow and induce proper healing.

Both of these treatments can only offer short term relief but it is very helpful for people who are experiencing different kind of pain. Sometimes pains can occur many times and these treatments can eliminate the pain quickly. Continuous application of hot and cold compress can increase blood circulation that can result in good health. The required time for this hot and cold compress is only 20 minutes, but it can be used more often if needed until swelling and pain diminish.

Hot and cold compresses can both shock the tissues and the blood vessels on the affected area due to sudden change of temperature. The affected part will be flooded by more white blood cells to fight the infection. But in this process, the circulation of the blood’s red cells in the affected area is blocked by the white blood cells. As  we all know, red blood cells carry oxygen that is needed for the normal functioning of each cell. In this case, accumulation of spasms spread through the other parts of the body especially through the leg area. The application of hot and cold compresses can increase blood circulations that carry the oxygen. The hot and cold sensation relaxes the nerves that can trigger the pain signal to the brain.

Hot and cold compresses are both very beneficial if they are used properly on the affected area. It is better to always consult a doctor to accompany the treatment with medication for faster treatment of any pain. Hot and cold are both needed for the body to maintain its normal functions. Homeostasis inside the body is maintained by the equilibrium of hot and cold temperature.

 Warnings
It is important to note that hot and cold compression should never be used on open wounds, nor should either type of compression be used by individuals with circulatory problems without a doctor’s consent. Heating pads should never be used “hot,” despite their name. A pad that is simply warm to the touch should be sufficient. It is also important to remember never to fall asleep while using a heating pad, because serious burns can occur.   Hot and cold compresses should never be applied directly to the skin. A physician should be notified if swelling persists or if there is no sign of reduced inflammation after 72 hours.

Resources:
http://www.ehow.com/about_5542216_hot-cold-compresses.html

Hot and Cold Compression Therapy

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