Hot, cold, combination of both (contrast)–when do you use it?
It’s a common question but a lot of people get confused by the different options available.
In my experience and knowledge;
Cold for the next 72 hours when you twist a joint or feel heat when you place the back of your hand on the area. This prevents swelling of the joint and helps with pain
Heat for muscle spasms or a pinched nerve or when your muscles ache. This helps relax the muscle. Stretching slowly afterwards, will help to lengthen the muscle.
Contrast for 3 minutes hot/warm and for 1 min cold/cool. This helps when a muscle has been tight for a while, or when there is swelling in a joint that is not warm to the touch. This helps move blood flow to that area.
This is what I suggest to my clients, but I always say, “In the end it’s what you feel helps relieve your pain the most.