Heating and cooling pads and belts are used in pain management. Using hot or cold temperature can prove to be therapeutic if used appropriately. Usually heating devices are used for long term muscle stiffness and pain while cold therapy might be used for acute injuries, inflammation and swelling. In some cases, a physician may recommend treatment with cooling pads and cooling belts initially and by heating belts and heating pads later. Heating belts are often equipped with long lasting heating coils and layers of insulation to provide safety, uniform heating and comfort. Some heating belts and heating pads used for pain management come equipped with a built-in thermostat for temperature control. Cooling belts and cooling pads provide uniform cooling over the area and their performance is enhanced when there is close contact with the skin. Some devices may be equipped with an additional automatic turn-off feature to prevent prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures of the area to be treated.
Features of these pads are –
1. Improving the blood flow and circulation which relaxes and heals the tissue
2. Supply of oxygen and nutrients heals and recovers the tissue faster
3. Increased flexibility of the muscle
On the other hand, Cooling devices work by:
1. Reducing blood flow to an area
2. Cooling can also reduce nerve activity which relieves pain.
3. Cooling relieves muscle spasms and inflammation which cause pain
Heating and cooling belts may be used post injury, post orthopaedic procedures, before and after physical therapy and for pain management.
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