Updated: Apr 23, 2019
Thermotherapy or the use of heat can be a fantastic pain management approach.
First of all the heat therapy must not be used after a trauma, a fall or an accident, as after a trauma you should seek for medical advice.
However, when you experience stiffness, tension and pain non trauma related it would be a great approach.
Indeed in this podcast above, I mentioned the different forms of thermotherapy and the impact of it.
Indeed on the go can easily be used a hot ointment such as deep heat of any other brand you can find in a pharmacy... Deep heat is here mentioned as an example not a as specific recommendation. Tiger balm as well can be very effective.
The ointment has a warming effect but can feel cold (cooling) basically the impact of the ointment is distracting ... So the nervous system will focus and pay attention to that distraction, that cooling effect instead of focusing on that pain, . It can be used how often as necessary.
Heat patch can be as well useful, I never tried it myself so I can talk about my experience Make sure to ask your pharmacist or read the instruction on how to use it if in doubt.
Alternatively, a sauna, a hot bath or hot water bottle (which is one of my favourite), can be used.
Here are the following benefits of heat therapy:
-the heat has a soothing effect.
-the heat softens the collagen, our soft tissue, muscles, tendon, ligaments are made of collagen.
As it softens the collagen, after 10min application or exposure it is important to do some gentle stretches and the soft tissues are more responsive to movement and create tissue change and release.
You might not find it effective every time but it is an approach which is worth to try, repeat as often as necessary but needs to be followed by stretches or gentle movement rather than passive rest.