– When you've suffered an injury or are dealing with chronic pain from a medical condition, surgery or other issue, the discomfort you experience can greatly impact your quality of life. Any type of pain can make it difficult to perform daily activities, concentrate at work or school, enjoy hobbies, exercise regularly or even sleep comfortably. There are many solutions for dealing with pain, including oral medications that are available with prescriptions or over the counter. Often, doctors recommend using heat or cold in conjunction with medications or in place of them to alleviate discomfort following an injury.
When a hot pack or compress is applied to the body, it causes the blood vessels in the effected area to widen, which in turn allows more blood to flow through and reach the site of injury or source of the discomfort. As more blood flows to the area, the muscle tissue begins to relax, which can ease feelings of stiffness, tightness and soreness. Over time, hot compresses can help to reduce certain types of inflammation. READ MORE ABOUT COLD & HOT PACKS »
A cold pack or compress has the opposite effect of a hot compress. When applied to the area of discomfort, the cold temperatures cause the blood vessels to shrink, limiting the amount of blood that reaches the tissue. This also interferes with fluid accumulation in the injury site, making cold compresses common for addressing symptoms of pain accompanied by swelling. Like hot compresses, cold compresses can decrease the amount of inflammation present in the effected area.
There are many types of hot and cold packs available to help you use heat or cold therapy without having to deal with messy wet cloths or towels. Packs that are shaken, cracked or kept in the freezer are available to hold against an area for treatment. There are also wraps and patches that can be applied to the site of an injury to keep the skin in constant contact with the heat or the cold without having to hold a pack in place. Hot water bottles have been used as hot compresses for years and are capable of holding extremely hot water while providing insulation to keep the bottle warm for as long as possible. Heating pads are typically plugged into the wall or run on batteries and supply steady heat to the effected area.
If you're unsure if a hot or cold pack is safe for use to address your symptoms of pain, talk to your doctor. He or she can help you determine if heat or cold is likely to provide relief for your symptoms and can also help you decide if it is safe. Once you have received his or her recommendation, come back to drugstore.com to have the hot or cold pack products that you need sent to your home. You may also want to stock up on both hot and cold pack products to have in your at-home first aid kit in case of an unexpected injury or accident. Shop our collection to find the right solution for your needs today. BACK TO TOP »
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