You've heard of heat therapy - it's often used as a method of relief before trying other means. How can such a simple therapy, which merely provides warmth to the muscles and joints, can be so effective?
There are several different types of muscle and joint pain. Some are classed as chronic while others are acute. Most often the chronic pain is a dull type of pain accompanied with stiffness and cramping.
Chronic pain may be the result of several diverse causes. It can be a consequence of injury, arthritis, fibromyalgia and even menstrual cramping. Added to this are the general aches and pains that come with ageing.
Joint/muscle pain can also be categorized as inflammatory and non-inflammatory. The good news is that heat therapy can be effective in treating both of them, but it depends on the actual cause. For the most part, heat therapy works better for non -inflammatory pain.
How heat therapy works
Heat has the ability to penetrate into deeper layers of the skin. As it does, it increases the temperature of the area that is being treated. This can have a beneficial effect on the trigger points where the pain is originating.
Why heat therapy works
Heat also has a calming and relaxing effect. When pain is present, it often causes tightness not only in the area where the pain is coming from but also in the surrounding area. But how does heat actually help to alleviate pain? It produces the following relieving effects:
Forms of heat therapy
Heat therapy is sometimes called thermotherapy. It can come from many different types of resources. It can come from a warm cloth, a heating pad or a hot water bottle, to mention just as a few examples. This type of therapy can be administered as moist or dry heat. While some heat therapy experts believe that moist heat has more penetration capabilities than dry heat, vasodilation (the dilation of the blood vessels) is more prominent with dry heat. However, as rule of thumb, heath therapy results in noticeable pain relief, whether moist or dry therapy. That being said, there are another advantages to dry therapy besides pain alleviation, which are:
Dry heat can be easily applied with therapeutic wraps, not forcing individuals to remain in one spot for treatment.
Several factors have to be considered when choosing the most effective material for a brace: A proper therapeutic support has to:
One of the best resources for making a wrap for heat therapy is to rely on what nature provides. Many animals totally rely on their hair to maintain their warmth and sustain their health. A good example of this is the Bactrian camel. The natural hair of these camels makes for an excellent heat wrap and can be readily obtained with no harm to the animal.
For further information on heat therapy, its specific uses, benefits, and tips to apply it for maximizing the results, don´t miss our oncoming posts! Stay tuned!