Hot or Cold: Get the Facts on Which Thermal Therapy Works Best

When you’re sick or in pain, trying to remember old catchphrases about medical advice can be confusing. Do you feed a cold and starve a fever? Or is it the other way around?  What about the application of hot and cold packs? When do you use which?  The confusion ends here! We have the answers for you.

The Bed BuddyHeat Therapy: When you plan ahead

Use heat therapy to combat feelings of soreness. Heat therapy can also be used proactively. In other words, do you anticipate stress activities in the days ahead? Maybe you are slated to give a presentation, or perhaps family members are coming to town and you know you’ll be talking a lot and eating out more.

Moist heat therapy is used to help relax the jaw muscles. A regular heating pad will not provide effective relief. Instead, you need to find a heating pad that can be used with a damp sponge or cloth. If you do not have a moist heating pad, visit your local pharmacy.

When to Use It

There is actually an optimal time to use moist heat therapy. At night after taking a hot bath or shower, you’ve already initiated the process of relaxing the muscles in your neck and jaw. Keep up the momentum and plan on dedicating the next hour to time alone with the moist heating pad.

Find someplace comfortable to sit—either a cozy chair where you can cuddle up and read a book or perhaps on your favorite sofa in front of the television.  The heating pad should then be placed in the following locations:

  • Under the chin and on both sides of the face
  • On the neck and shoulders
  • On the back of the head, wrapped toward the front
  • On the forehead, wrapped down the back of your head

Ice Therapy: For More Serious Pain

If you are experiencing pain you find extreme or unbearable, ice therapy is the recommended treatment.  Many people frown at the suggestion of ice therapy. It’s unpleasant to hold ice packs for very long. Fingers and hands get uncomfortable.

cold TherapyHere are some suggestions to maximize cold therapy without numbing your hands:

Fill a Styrofoam cup with water and freeze it. Remove the cup from the freezer and apply to the area where you are experiencing pain and discomfort. The Styrofoam acts like an insulator, preventing your hands from getting cold.

Now move the cup in a circular motion for about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the ice for five minutes, and then repeat the procedure.

“Bed Buddies”—moist heating and icing without a cord

Another option for the application of moist heat or icing is the Bed Buddy. This trademarked product can be found at over-the-counter at drug stores or online retailers.  The Bed Buddy can be placed in the microwave for moist heat or it can be placed in the freezer for ice therapy. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines before using.

Image Source:

Original Source:


Scroll to Top