The muscle pain and stiffness is a condition that many individuals of all ages experience and one can develop almost anywhere on the body such as the legs, feet, hands and arms. In most cases, the pain can range from minor to severe. There are various treatment options for muscle pain and stiffness. One is to change the temperature of the damaged area in order to relieve or reduce the muscle pain and stiffness experienced by the individual.
Cold reduces the pain, inflammation and muscle spasms by slowing down the circulation of blood in the affected area. You can reduce both the pain and inflammation by applying ice to the sore muscles during the initial 24-72 hours after the individual sustained an injury.
You can apply an ice pack over the sore area for 15-20 minutes at 3 times on a daily basis. Protect the skin by applying a cloth or towel beneath the ice. Other types of cold therapy that can be used include iced towels, hydrotherapy or other iced compresses. The effect of cold therapy is known to provide a longer effect than heat therapy. Always remember that a barrier must be placed on the skin before ice is applied.
Heat works by improving the circulation of blood. Once more than 72 hours has passed after the injury was sustained, the sore area can be soothed by applying heat over it. Once you utilize heat to draw blood into the damaged tissues, the essential nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the tissues while at the same time eliminating waste from the cells.
The application of heat over the injured area can also help relieve the pain, increase the range of motion, reduce muscle spasms and relax tense muscles. The low-level heat must be applied directly over the skin using heat wraps on a continuous basis for at least 8 hours. This can reduce pain more than the short delivery of heat treatments or commonly used pain medications. Other types of heat therapy include hydrotherapy, moist or dry heating pads, chemical gel packs and hot and moist compresses.
Important considerations to bear in mind
Do not apply cold or ice directly on bare skin. Remember that this is will cause skin or nerve damage. Always place a barrier such as a clean towel or cloth between the cold and the skin surface.
If hot packs are used instead of the wraps, you must always wrap it using a towel before applied on the skin to prevent burns. In addition, after using any of the commercial gel packs that are either hot or cold, make sure that they are discarded right away since the chemical agent in the gel can cause burns.