To know if I have to apply heat or cold to an affected area, we must understand the effects of applying heat or cold on the body.


The use of cold is more effective for trauma in an acute state, for example immediately after a blow or a muscle or joint disorder. It can also be used in the different stages of rehabilitation, after an injury. Cold is used as an initial treatment. When applying cold, we look for the area to be numb or numb.

When there is trauma, the injured area is hot, reddish, swollen, and painful. This is called an inflammatory edema. If you do nothing about it, the increased cellular metabolism (transformation) of the area and the products of inflammation can continue to damage the tissues. On the other hand, if you apply cold to the skin, the blood vessels will respond with a vasoconstriction, which will decrease blood flow in the area, therefore reducing bleeding and inflammatory edema. The cold will decrease cellular metabolism in the area.

The local application of cold will decrease the activity of the sensory nerves in that area (because they decrease the speed of nerve conduction). Therefore, it will generate analgesia in the area (it will calm your pain) and it will also decrease muscle spasm by inhibiting the nervous reflexes that maintained that spasm.

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