Heat therapy is a method for relieving both muscle or chronic pain and stiffness. Heat therapy can either be used for specific areas or all of the body.
What is heat therapy?
Parts of heat therapy
Heat therapy can be achieved by using any of the following:
- Moist towel
- Wheat heat pack
- Gel heat pack
- Hot water bottle
- Hot baths
Heat helps encourage the blood to circulate to an area of pain allowing the muscles to relax and damaged tissue to heal.
Using heat therapy
Consult your physiotherapist or chiropractor on how to safely use a heat pack. Also, ensure that you follow the instructions found with the product.
How long can you use heat therapy at one time?
Heat therapy can relieve stiffness and minor pain within 15-20 minutes while moderate to severe pain may require between 30 minutes to 2 hours. However, make sure to consult your physiotherapist or chiropractor before use.
When can a heat therapy be used?
- Muscle soreness (such as after sport)
- Joint stiffness
- People with chronic pain
When should heat therapy NOT be used?
- When there is swelling, redness or inflammation (use ice therapy)
- On a wound or irritated skin
- Near sensitive areas such as the eyes
- People with dermatitis (such as eczema)
- People with diabetes, vascular diseases, deep vein thrombosis or multiple sclerosis
People with diabetes, hypertension or are pregnant should seek advice from a doctor before using heat therapy (including sauna or hot bath).