1. What is physical therapy？
Physical therapy (also physiotherapy) is a health profession that assesses and provides treatment to individuals to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and function throughout life. This includes providing treatment in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, disease or environmental factors.
Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation.
2. What are the main type of hot or cold therapy?
Hot-cold therapy can be very effective in controlling pain and speeding recovery from injuries or muscle and joint pain. To effectively use these treatments, just follow some simple guidelines. Hot-cold therapy consists of alternating heat and cold therapy on the injury or area of pain. It is also known as contrast therapy. To understand hot-cold therapy, you would need to understand the basics of heat-cold therapy.
Superficial heat therapies include heating pads, heat lamps, warm moist compressors, and medicated creams or gels. Pain associated with muscle spasms, leg cramps and menstrual cramps responds quickly to these superficial heat treatments. Deep heat therapies involve ultrasound treatment, electric stimulation or paraffin baths.
Cold therapy often revolves around the acronym RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and reminds us how to treat injuries, such as sprains, strains, bumps and bruises.
3. What are the main effect of cold and hot therapy?
Applying cold therapy to these injuries short-circuits the body’s natural swelling response. It produces vasoconstriction, which slows circulation and reduces inflammation, muscle spasms and pain. Elevation uses gravity to encourage blood and fluid to flow away from the injured area, which assists in decreasing the swelling. Superficial cold therapy is available in commercial cold packs, iced towels/compression and forms of hydrotherapy. The duration of cold therapy is less than heat therapy, but the effect of the cold is known to last longer than heat.
By combining the beneficial effects of heat and cold therapy, the pain related to more chronic, long-term conditions could be vastly improved. Hot-cold therapy is most effective for long-standing pain and stiffness associated with arthritic problems and joint pain, but persistent swelling after an acute injury such as a sprain responds very well to hot-cold therapy. To perform hot-cold therapy, simply apply heat for five minutes, than apply cold for about five minutes. This cycle of hot/cold treatment should be conducted for 20 to 30 minutes. Both hot and cold treatments should never be applied directly to the skin. A barrier, such as a towel, should be placed between the hot or cold agent and the skin’s surface to prevent skin and nerve damage. Punctured commercial hot or cold packs should be immediately discarded, as the chemical agent/gel will burn the skin.
4. What are the mainly applications for heat therapy or cold therapy?
HEAT THERAPY APPLICATIONS
Heat brings increased blood circulation to an affected area. This helps to relax tight muscles and restore flexibility in a wide variety of ailments such as:
- Muscle pain/soreness
- Muscle spasms/cramps
- Chronic neck or back stiffness
- Menstrual cramps
COLD THERAPY APPLICATIONS
Cold treatment actually expedites the natural recovery process by improving the healing effects of blood flow to an affected area. This helps to reduce the swelling and pain caused by inflammation and relieves the discomforts often associated with:
- Joint/muscle injuries
- Back/neck pain
- Sinus/stress headaches
- Post-surgical pain
- Sunburn/other burns
5. What is the healing process of cold and hot therapy?
When the body is injured, it responds with a series of repair functions. One of these functions includes an increase of blood flow to the affected area. While this is part of the natural healing process, it can sometimes lead to inflammation that results in swelling and pain. Applying the appropriate use of hot and cold therapies can help bring relief to these discomforts.
In most instances, doctors suggest a combination of four basic methods for a speedy recovery - a technique they refer to as R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation). For the "ice" part of the equation, applying cold immediately after injury can reduce both pain and inflammation. Continue with cold applications until the swelling has gone down, which typically takes a few days.
After the swelling subsides, you can then begin applying heat to increase blood flow into the injured area. This improved circulation aids in expediting the healing process and improving flexibility.
In order for an injury to heal properly, you should immobilize the injured area for 3 to 6 days. Using the injured body part too early can cause further damage and prolong recovery.
6. Hot or cold therapy... which one is right for you?
The type of therapy you need depends on the type of injury you have incurred. It is important to determine the appropriate therapy as using the wrong treatment can actually cause additional harm. Whether you are using hot or cold therapy, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW THE DOCTOR-RECOMMENDED, MEDICALLY CORRECT TREATMENT TIME OF 20 TO 30 MINUTES.