Do you like it hot or cold? Well, it really depends. On the nature of the injury that you have sustained. The level of pain. I recently injured my tendons attempting to do a pull up. This is where you hang from something and attempt to pull your entire body weight up. Why anyone would be fool hardy to attempt something like this is a story for another day. Nevertheless, I fell to the floor in a heap. Wincing with pain. Hot or cold?
If you have been through an injury like mine, you know it can be horribly painful. I didn’t have a broken skin and therefore there was no risk of infection. Strangely, research has shown that in such cases immune cells unnecessarily swarm injury sites causing damage and pain. There is no known benefit. They are mistaking your injured muscles for enemies and trying to kill them off. Applying a cold back in this case is the equivalent of taking a pain killer. So cold. For inflammations of muscles or tendons.
Heat on the other hand is used to reduce stress. Think muscle spasms. Or neck and back pain. Did you just ski down the slopes. Your body told you how untrained you are for such activities. A warm water bottle will do the trick. Even the muscle pain caused by Vitamin D deficiency can be treated with heat. Remember, if you inter-change the problem and solution, it can aggravate things. An injured muscle treated immediately with heat will cause increased inflammation.
Doctors also recommend contrast therapy for conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and back pain. In this you alternate between hot and cold. The key is to understand the nature of your pain before you rush to apply the balm. How am I doing? Well thanks for asking. I am much better. My muscles are on the way to recovery. I should be lifting myself up soon. Literally and figuratively speaking.