Heat Therapy

What is Heat Therapy?

Heat Therapy in Tampa FL

Heat therapy, also known as thermotherapy, is the use of heat in physical therapy treatment. Applying heat to an area in the body increases the blood flow, bringing along proteins and oxygen. The benefits of heat therapy are very prevalent. This method is great to decrease joint stiffness, reduce pain and inflammation, and relieve muscle spasms.

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How Heat Therapy Benefit Patients?

This therapy benefits your body by improving circulation and blood flow to a specific area thanks to increased temperature. Increasing the temperature of the painful area even slightly can soothe discomfort and increase muscle flexibility. This physical therapy can relax and relieve muscles and heal damaged tissue.
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Types of Heat Therapy

There are two different types of heat therapy: dry heat and moist heat. Both types should go for “warm” as the ideal temperature instead of “hot.”

Dry heat

Dry heat includes sources like heating pads, dry heating packs, and even saunas. This heat is easy to apply.

Moist heat

Moist heat includes sources like steamed towels, moist heating packs, or hot baths. Moist heat could also be slightly simpler as well as require less application time for the same results.
Professional treatments can also be applied. Heat from an ultrasound, for example, can be used to help pain in tendonitis.

When applying, you'll prefer to use local, regional, or whole body treatment. Local therapy is best for little areas of pain, like one stiff muscle. You could use small heated gel packs or a predicament bottle if you simply want to treat an injury locally. Regional treatment is best for more widespread pain or stiffness, and will be achieved with a steamed towel, large hot pad, or heat wraps. Full body treatment would come with options like saunas or a hot bath.

When to NOT use heat therapy?

Heat Therapy in Tampa FL

There are specific cases where this therapy should not be used. If the area in question is either bruised or swollen (or both), it may be better to use cold therapy. This procedure also shouldn’t be applied to an area with an open wound.

People with certain conditions should not use this due to higher risk of burns or complications due to heat application. These conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • Dermatitis
  • Vascular diseases
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

If you have heart disease or hypertension, ask your doctor before. If you are pregnant, consult with your doctor before using saunas or hot tubs.

Applying Heat Therapy

It is often most beneficial when used for a good amount of time, unlike cold therapy, which needs to be used for shorter periods.

Minor stiffness or tension can often be soothed with only 15 to 20 minutes.

Moderate to serious pain can benefit from longer sessions of heat therapy like a warm bath, lasting between 30 minutes and two hours.

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