Moist Heat Pack

Heat therapy is used to increase your skin temperature with very little increase in the temperature of deeper areas of your body. It is used in many forms such as moist heat packs, heating pads, and hot whirlpools. Heat therapy causes your blood vessels to get bigger allowing more blood thus oxygen and nutrients to go to the area, and carries away wastes thus enhances healing.

Chronic injuries usually do not present with a sudden onset. They tend to gradually build up over a period of days, weeks, or longer and are often caused by overuse or biomechanical abnormality. A chronic injury can also be caused by an acute injury that fails to heal due to a lack of, or inappropriate treatment.

Heat therapy should be applied for 15-20 minutes in the form of moist hot packs, hot bath, a warm damp towel, heat rub, and/or commercially available heating pads. If using something such as a hot water bottle, ensure a suitable layer of protection is placed over the skin to prevent burns.

In general, heat should be used to treat chronic injuries, to help relax tight, aching muscles and joints, increase the elasticity of ligaments and tendons and increase the blood flow to the area. Heat therapy can also be used prior to exercise in chronic injuries to warm the muscles and increase flexibility.

The warmth created by superficial heat helps by:

  • Relaxing your muscles when you are tense and reduce muscle spasms.
  • Increase blood flow to your body parts  thus improved cellular nutrition, oxygenation and detoxification.
  • Helps in healing your body tissues thus injuries
  • Preparing your muscles and joints for exercise and stretching
  • Pain relief
  • Relieves stiffness
  • Ease stress, tension, and has a sedating and relaxing effect on nerves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The type of heat therapy pack modalities are as follows:

Moist Hot Packs: (used at Chiropractic Sports Care)

  • Moist hot packs are kept in water at a temperature of 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Moist hot packs are usually wrapped in 6 to 8 layers of towels in order to prevent burning. They are applied for 15 to 20 minutes. Your skin may look red after you have been given a hot pack. This redness should go away in 4-6 hours.

Heating pads:

  • Heating pads produce a dry heat. Heating pads are not used at Chiropractic Sports Care because moist heat is more comfortable and goes deeper into the body.
  • Heating pads may be bought at a drug store. Some you put into an electrical outlet, while others you put in the microwave for a minute. Make sure that you do not use the pad on more than the medium setting or you may get burned. Put a moist towel over the area to be treated and put the heating pad on top of the moist towel. Don't use a heating pad at home for more than ½ hour at a time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some contraindications for heat therapy are patients with peripheral vascular disease, bleeding disorders, local malignancy, acute inflammation or trauma, edema, infection, open wounds, over large scars, patients with impaired sensation (neuropathy) or impaired ability to communicate/cognitive impairments (dementia or dysphasia).

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