The use of moist heat is a very important modality that is often mistakenly used at home as ‘surface’ heat. It is important to understand the difference of ‘moist’ heat and ‘dry’ heat.
Dry heat is any heat derived from a blanket or plugged in device that cannot include moisture. This type of heat only penetrates the surface of the skin and is considered ‘superficial’ and really has no therapeutic benefit to one’s injury of musculature. It does however provide relaxation and an overall feeling of warmth which feels good but doesn’t provide benefit to affected musculature.
Moist heat is very therapeutic as it has numerous benefits including; it penetrates deep into muscle tissue, it helps draw fluid to area applied, it is great for arthritis, loosening up tissue etc.
Examples of dry heat include electric heating pads and saunas. Moist heat consists of hot baths, steamed towels, moist heating gel packs, hot tubs etc.
How do I know whether to use ice or heat? This is a very important question and it gets asked on a regular basis. Generally speaking, any chronic pain or chronic injury such as arthritis or any old injury the use of moist heat is appropriate.
Ice therapy is generally appropriate with all sporting injuries, acute injuries, post surgical sites, or any new injury. If you have any questions regarding which one is right for your complaint, please do not hesitate to contact the office