Find out where, when and how to use deep heat and deep freeze on injuries and conditions. Learn all about hot and cold treatments and more at PhysioRoom.
Whenever you sustain an injury it’s natural to want to get back out doing the things you love as quickly as possible. Whether it’s a muscle strain sustained playing football, a broken finger diving for a catch while playing cricket or ligament damage as a result of hyperextending your knee landing a move during a gymnastics competition; we all want to get the injury treated and to see it healing as quickly as possible.
For many of us, that involves hot and cold therapy in the form of either Deep Heat or Deep Freeze products.
They have become the go-to products for impact injuries, muscular aches and other pains in the body, but there are still plenty of people who are either using the products incorrectly or are unaware as to when to use Deep Heat and Deep Freeze products to treat the problems.
Each group of products, which include everything from the popular hot and cold sprays to single-use patches and muscle rubs, has its own series of benefits and they should be used for different types of injuries. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand when to use Deep Heat and Deep Freeze, and the most suitable products for certain injuries.
The main difference between Deep Heat and Deep Freeze products, as the names suggest, is the use of heat and cooling on the affected areas. When using Deep Heat sprays, muscle rubs and patches the warming effect brings additional blood to the affected area, which brings vital oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and helps them to move more freely.
In contrast, Deep Freeze sprays and muscle rubs cause the blood vessels to constrict and this helps to minimise the amount of damage in the area by stopping it from spreading. This is why bruising from impact injuries is usually constrained to such relatively small areas rather than causing the whole leg or arm to ache, for instance.
Deep Heat products should be used as a form of pain relief from muscular aches, pains and stiffness in areas such as the back or neck; while Deep Freeze should be used for the treatment of joint pain or impact injuries.
The products can, and should, be used at different times if you are still able to exercise, play, or train. As is always the case, your muscles should be warm and loose before you start exercising so Deep Heat muscle rubs and sprays can be used to get the blood flowing; while Deep Freeze can be used afterwards to treat any injuries that may have occurred.
The best way to treat back problems is with Deep Heat muscle rubs or heat patches. Back pain is one of the most common injuries and ailments, as there are so many different ways in which it can come about.
For some it is a genetic condition, for others it is muscular, but applying a steady amount of heat to the affected area can relieve the aching and, in the case of heat patches, they can provide constant relief throughout the day as the supply of heat can ease pain for up to 16 hours.
R.I.C.E. treatment (rest, ice, compression and elevation) is the best way to relieve the pain caused by conditions such as shin splints. By applying cold compresses, ice packs or Deep Freeze pain relief gels to the affected area while resting and keeping the leg raised can help to relieve any sharp or shooting pain.
The treatment should be used for a few minutes each hour before gradually reducing the amount of therapy to a handful of times a day as your symptoms improve.
Hold and cold therapy is a tried and trusted form of treatment used by professional and amateur athletes alike, and one that is recommended by doctors and nursing staff who treat various physical conditions.
Ice or cold therapy helps to treat the injury and should be implemented at the earliest opportunity. You can then use heat therapy, as covered already when we spoke about the benefits of using Deep Heat, helps to get the blood flowing to the affected areas.
Hot and cold treatment should be used several times a day until the symptoms start to subside, and should always start and finish with cold therapy. Apply an ice pack to the affected area for around two minutes before alternating to the heat treatment for two minutes and repeat three times.
The aim of this treatment is to reduce the pain and swelling as quickly as possible, and you can find out more information in our in-depth guide to hot and cold treatments.