It’s never easy to deal with muscle pain. A compression sleeve can help with your recovery, but there are more ways to alleviate the pain quickly. For instance, experts would recommend using a hot or cold compress.
But really, which one is better for your body aches? Does a hot compress work differently compared to a cold one? Let’s tackle these questions one by one, and figure out which type of compress is best for you.
What Does Cold Compress Do?
A cold compress can come in various forms. It can be a muscle compression sleeve, an ice pack, or a coolant spray. Many people also go for the Wim Hof style and take an ice bath instead.
In its essence, a cold compress restricts blood circulation in your muscles. It also “freezes” your nerve endings momentarily. As a result, using a cold compress can reduce swelling, prevent bleeding, and numb muscle pain.
Use a cold compress in these situations:
- Muscle strain or sprain
- Muscle inflammation
- Injury or muscle damage
However, don’t use a cold compress if:
- You have a nerve or sensory disorder, which might prevent you from feeling the cold therapy. One example of this is diabetes.
- Your muscles or joints are too stiff.
- You’re hypersensitive to cold.
- You have poor blood circulation.
What Can Hot Compress Do For Your Muscles?
A hot compress stimulates the blood circulation in your body and helps you recover faster than before. It can also relax and heal damaged muscle tissues.
With this, you’re doing the opposite effect on your sore muscles. Rather than numbing it down until you feel nothing, heat soothes the pain.
When your muscles are too stiff to move, that’s when a hot compress can come in handy. That’s why you see a lot of pro athletes do a “pre-heating” session, so they can avoid injuries by warming up their cold muscles.
Here are a few types of hot compress you can use to alleviate your muscle pain.
- Gel compression sleeve
- Heating pad
- Hot pack
- Steamed towel
- Sauna or a warm bath
Remember, use a hot compress if you’re experiencing the following:
- DOMs or delayed onset muscle soreness
- Chronic pain, such as tendonitis and osteoarthritis
- Muscle strain or sprain
- Muscle spasms
- Stiff muscles and joints
Alternatively, don’t use a hot compress if:
- You’re suffering from hot, inflamed skin
- You have an open wound.
- You have dermatitis or other skin conditions that can get triggered by heat
- You’re insensitive or hypersensitive to heat
- You’re diagnosed with diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, multiple sclerosis, or any vascular disease.
How to Use A Hot or Cold Compress?
Using a hot or cold compress might look easy, but there are still some precautions you need to take. Here’s how to use them properly in your everyday life.
Don’t use a hot or cold compress for too long.
The phrase “no pain, no gain” doesn’t apply here. If a hot or cold compress hurts your skin, you might’ve left it on for too long. If your skin’s too sensitive, try using the compress on top of your clothes.
A maximum of 15 to 30 minutes is enough for the compress to work. You’ll probably notice your skin getting pink afterward, which is completely normal. If you want more relief for your muscle pain, break up the treatment into several sessions throughout the day.
Listen to your body and your doctor.
If your skin suddenly breaks out in hives or blisters after using a compress, stop immediately. The compress’ temperature might be too extreme for your skin, or you’re simply not compatible with it.
Make sure to tell your doctor about the situation. Discuss other healthy alternatives such as taking a warm or cold bath instead, so you can still get its health benefits without compressing your sensitive skin.
Pair your hot or cold compress with a massage gun.
Sometimes, compressing the pain out of your muscle isn’t enough. It can take weeks before your body recovers. So, to speed up the healing process, you’ll need a massage gun.
A massage gun loosens up your tight muscles, promotes blood circulation, and takes away your chronic pain. It can also help you sleep deeply, so you won’t tolerate your body aches throughout the night.
Combine this with a hot or cold compress, and you’re on your way to a quick recovery! In fact, a 2016 study found that getting a massage plus muscle compression can lead to lower muscle pain, fatigue, and soreness. You’ll also feel the positive effects immediately.
If you’re searching for an all-in-one compression sleeve, check out the Thermosleeve right now. It’s a 360-degree hot and cold compress that eliminates muscle pain in seconds. Don’t miss out on its 30-day risk-free guarantee, so you can see how it can change your life.