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Thermotherapy is the use of heat to treat symptoms of acute or chronic pain, especially those related to muscle tension or spasm. Thermotherapy widens blood vessels and increases blood flow to the skin. It relaxes superficial muscles, decreases muscle spasm and reduces stiffness of joints. The hot packs are applied either before or after the treatment. You can even use hot water bottles/microwave applicable hot packs for self-treatment at home. Put the hot pack on the painful area and cover it with a towel. You can keep it for 20-30 min and repeat several times a day.
Common conditions where heat therapy is applied:
Cryotherapy simply means the use of cold as a therapy. Applying cold to the area reduces the amount of fluid flowing into the tissues and also slows the release of chemicals that cause pain and inflammation. Cold also decreases the activity of cells in order to reduce the amount of swelling and internal bleeding at the injury site which means that it slows down the inflammation reaction. In the acute stage of an injury it gives relief to the pain and reduces the swelling. A cold pack or ice massage is usually applied after the treatment or used as home treatment.
Common conditions where cold therapy is applied:
If you have an acute (sports) injury you should apply immediate ice to the affected area. Don’t apply the ice directly to the skin. Put a thin towel in between the cold pack and the skin. The application should last for 15-20 min and can be repeated every 3 hours.