Use of non-pharmacological alternatives like Therapacks® in place of painkillers can reduce the potential risk of adverse side-effects. We are concerned about polypharmacy – the simultaneous use of many medications – particularly common among our older population. Statistics show that the risk of experiencing an adverse drug event increases with the number of medications taken together; 6% if two medications are taken, 50% if five medications are taken and 100% if eight or more medications are co-administered.
Benefits of Heat
Heat helps to ease muscular tension and cramps by increasing the blood flow to the injured area. The flow of blood will bring oxygen and nutrients which facilitate the healing process. Hot packs can be used for psychological comfort, pain relief and healing.
Benefits of Cold
Cold helps to ease pain by slowing the chemical reactions that send pain impulses to the brain. Cold also helps to decrease swelling and haemorrhaging by constricting the blood vessels that supply the injured area. Cold packs can be used to reduce soreness, bruising and swelling. They can ease minor burns.
Does Medical Research Support Heat & Cold Pain Treatment?
Yes, it does. While heat and cold are traditional treatments of long standing, doctors and researchers are still learning about the ways that they reduce pain. Here are just a few examples of relevant peer-reviewed research papers.
Continuous Low-Level Heat Wrap Therapy Provides More Efficacy Than Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen for Acute Low Back Pain, Nadler, Scott F.; Steiner, Deborah J.; Erasala, Geetha N.; Hengehold, David A.; Hinkle, Robert T.; Beth Goodale, Mary; Abeln, Susan B.; Weingand, Kurt W. Spine, Volume 27, Issue 10, 15 May 2002, Pages 1012-1017.
The effects of therapeutic forms of heat and ice on the pain threshold of the normal shoulder, T B Benson, E P Copp.Rheumatology, Volume 13, Issue 2, 1974, Pages 101-104.
Comparison of Three Treatment Procedures for Minimizing Ankle Sprain Swelling, Debra J Coté, William E Prentice Jr, Daniel N Hooker, Edgar W Shields,Physical Therapy, Volume 68, Issue 7, July 1988, Pages 1072-1076.
A Cochrane Review of Superficial Heat or Cold for Low Back Pain, French, Simon D.; Cameron, Melainie; Walker, Bruce F.; Reggars, John W.; Esterman, Adrian J. Spine, Volume 31, Issue 9, 20 April 2006, Pages 998-1006.
Reduction of pain-related behaviors with either cold or heat treatment in an animal model of acute arthritis, Kathleen A. Sluka, Michelle R. Christy, Wendy L. Peterson, Staci L. Rudd, Stacie M. Troy. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 80, Issue 3, March 1999, Pages 313–317.