Heat vs. Cold

Physiological Effects of Superficial Heat

  • Increase in tissue temperature, local metabolism and blood flow
  • Analgesia and sedation (relaxation)
  • Increased nerve conduction velocity
  • Increase in O2 and nutrient supply at cellular level
  • Decrease muscle spasms and pain

INDICATIONS OF SUPERFICIAL HEAT:

  • Before active exercises
  • Before stretching or passive range of motion
  • In conjunction with massage, ultrasound or traction to achieve maximum relaxation and warm local superficial tissues
  • Muscle spasms
  • Prior to joint mobilizations

CONTRAINDICATIONS:

  • Local infection present
  • Some dermatologic conditions
  • Feverish conditions

PRECAUTIONS:

  • Be aware of any deficits in sensation
  • Very old/young or mentally incapacitated patients

Physiological Effects Of Cold:

  • Reduce tissue temperature and local vasoconstriction
  • Decrease inflammatory process and metabolism
  • Diminish the effects of central and peripheral nerve disorders
  • Decrease extensibility of nonelastic tissues

INDICATIONS OF COLD:

  • Reduction of acute pain and swelling
  • Reduction of spasms and spasticity
  • Facilitation of motor responses

CONTRAINDICATIONS OF COLD:

  • Frostbite to the area
  • Raynaud’s disease or other circulatory compromises

PRECAUTIONS:

  • If stretching is required after cold therapy
  • Same precautions that apply to heat
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