Hot + Cold Therapy FAQs

Categories
  • General Therapy Questions
  • Active Ice® Therapy System
  • Soft Ice® Packs
  • Soft Ice® Wraps
  • Thera-Temp® Moist Heat Therapy
  • Trigger Point Massage
  •  
    General Therapy Questions
    When should I use hot therapy vs. cold therapy?

    A good rule of thumb is cold for acute pain, heat for chronic pain. Always use heat therapy prior to an activity to loosen up your muscles, and cold afterward.

    For acute pain, the Soft Ice® Compression Wrap provides short-term pain relief for soft-tissue injuries. Cold compression aids in reducing swelling, bleeding, spasms and pain. Apply as soon as possible after an injury has occurred and continue for 48 to 72 hours. (See the following question, "What should I do if I suffer an acute injury?")

    Heat or Moist Heat Therapy should be used for chronic conditions such as muscle discomfort or stiffness. Applying heat to an area effectively opens up the blood vessels allowing blood to flow freely to the affected area. This increases circulation, delivering an increased supply of oxygen and nutrients and removing waste from sore, fatigued and injured muscles.

    Many doctors recommend alternating cold and moist heat therapy for chronic pain as well - 20 minutes of cold, 20 minutes off, and then 20 minutes of moist heat. Combination therapy is an effective treatment for repetitive strain injuries, and can help with the pain of arthritis. For acute pain, one the swelling goes down, alternate cold therapy and moist heat therapy as described above. Our Drug-Free Pain Management Kits provide the synergistic therapeutic benefits of cold compression and moist heat.
     
    What should I do if I suffer from chronic pain?

    Heat or Moist Heat Therapy should be used for chronic conditions such as muscle discomfort or stiffness. Applying heat to an area effectively opens up the blood vessels allowing blood to flow freely to the affected area.  This increases circulation, delivering an increased supply of oxygen and nutrients and removing waste from sore, fatigued and injured muscles. Moist heat therapy can be effective in treating back pain caused by muscle strains and spasms. Arthritic and thematic pain is often temporarily relieved with the use of moist heat. 

    Apply Polar's Thera-Temp® Microwaveable Moist Heat Therapy Wrap to the targeted area for 20 minutes, repeating as needed after a 20 minute break. Cold therapy can also be effective with chronic pain. Many doctors recommend alternating intervals of cold and moist heat therapy: 20 minutes of cold, 20 minutes off, and then 20 minutes of heat. Our Drug-Free Pain Management Kits provide the synergistic therapeutic benefits of cold compression and moist heat.

    How often can I use hot therapy?

    We typically recommend using hot therapy for no more than 20 minutes at a time, with 20 minutes in between each application. Always consult your physician prior to using any therapy product.
    How often can I use cold therapy?

    We typically recommend using cold therapy for no more than 20 minutes at a time, with 20 minutes in between each application. After surgery, the Active Ice® Therapy System provides constant relief with circulating cold water for up to 48 or 72 hours. Always consult your physician prior to using any therapy product.
    I get terrible migraines. Can your products help?

    Cold therapy has been proved to help reduce pain from migraines and headaches. We recommend our Soft Ice® Head and Neck Wraps. Check out our Cool Flow® Head Cap and Migraine & Headache Pain Relief Kit. Some people also find temporary relief with our Thera-Temp® Moist Heat Wraps.
      What conditions benefit from cold therapy?
    • Acute injuries
    • Sprains
    • Strains
    • Muscle spasms
    • Whiplash 
    • Insect bites
    • Contusions
    • Dislocation
    • Subluxations
    • Arthritis
    • Migraines & Headaches
    • Hemotoma (acute)
    • Bursitis
    • Tendinitis
    • Post-surgery pain relief
    • Myofascial disorders (muscle spasm, muscle tension, muscle soreness)
       Does Polar have a "big and tall" section?
    • Big and Tall sizes are offered for most of our products as an option on that product's purchase page. 
    • Cooling Vest Typically have sizes up to 4XL. 
    • Therapy and other products are adjustable and in many cases are offered in regular and large sizes.
       Back to Top
      Active Ice® Therapy System
      How long can I use the system?

    After surgery, the Active Ice® Therapy System provides constant relief with circulating cold water for up to 48 or 72 hours. As always, please contact your physician prior to using any therapy product. 
      How long will it run before I need to add water and ice?

    We recommend reusing an empty juice carton to freeze larger blocks of water. The ice will melt slower and will cool you longer. It will last several hours, and you can always add more ice and water for continuous cold therapy. 
      Can I control the temperature?

    Yes. You can control the temperature by adjusting the amount of ice water flowing through the lines. The more ice water rushing through the lines, the colder the water will feel. There is an easy temperature control switch on the cooler.
      Back to Top
       Soft Ice® Packs
      When should I use Soft Ice® Cold Therapy?

    Using cold therapy to treat injuries is one of the oldest methods of pain control. Cold therapy is an easy self care technique that is proved to be safe and effective at reducing swelling, relieving pain and decreasing muscle spasms. Often people who use cold therapy require much less pain relief medication. Cold therapy (or cyrotherapy) is usually recommended as soon as possible after an injury has occurred and continues for 48 to 72 hours. Most doctors recommend 20 minutes of cold therapy followed by 20 to 60 minutes off. Some chronic injuries can also benefit from icing, but always ice after an activity using the affected muscle of joint, never before. 
      How does cold therapy work?

    After an injury, blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells are damaged. The cells around the injury increase their metabolism in an effort to consume more oxygen. When all of the oxygen is used up, the cells die. Also, the damaged blood vessels cannot remove waste. Blood cells and fluid seep into spaces around the muscle, resulting in swelling and bruising. When ice is applied, it lowers the temperature of the damaged tissue through heat exchange and constricts local blood vessels. This slows metabolism and the consumption of oxygen, therefore reducing the rate of cell damage and decreasing fluid build-up. Ice can also numb nerve endings. This stops the transfer of impulses to the brain that register as pain. Cold or ice should never be applied directly to the skin. A barrier, such as a towel or compression wrap should be placed between the cold pack and the skin's surface to prevent skin and nerve damage.
      What precautions should I take when using cold packs?

    Prolonged, direct contact with cold can damage skin and nerves, so always use a cloth or a Polar Soft Ice® Compression Wrap between the pack and the skin. Hot or cold therapy should not be used on people who have circulatory problems, who are unconscious, who cannot feel or respond to cold (e.g. in paralysis) or on people who develop skin reactions when exposed to cold.
      Why not just use a bag or ice or frozen peas?

    In theory, either of these methods would work, but the reality is that they're messy and they freeze hard and crunchy, which does not allow close contact with the skin, maximum heat transfer or comfortable cold therapy. Ice bags and frozen peas are also less environmentally sound than reusable cold packs and they do not provide compression. When you are in serious pain, you want a quick, clean solution that is reusable and will provide you consistent relief. Check out our Soft Ice® Packs! Just keep them in your freezer so they're ready in an emergency.
      How long do the packs stay cool?

    Cold therapy requires that as much heat is drawn from the affected area within the first 20 minutes as possible. Therefore, Soft Ice® is designed to stay soft and flexible to optimize cold therapy for 20 minutes.
      How many times can I reuse the packs?

    Unlike many single use packs, our Soft Ice® Packs can be reused over and over again and will last for a long time if stores properly in a cool environment.
      What are the packs made of? Is it toxic?

    Soft Ice® Packs are made of 100% non-toxic and recycled materials. However, if your skin does come in contact with the liquid inside the packs, wash the affected area with soap and water.
      How do I use them as heat packs?

    Check the label on your pack. Is it a "V", "S", or "M" series pack?

    For the "V" Series: To use as a heat pack, place flat in microwave. Heat at lowest setting for 30 seconds. Gently press the pack to mix contents and repeat if necessary. Alternatively, boil water and remove from heat. Place the pack in hot water for 5 minutes. Please note: Do not boil the pack!

    For the "S" or "M" Series: To use as a heat pack, boil water and remove from heat. Place the pack in hot water for 5 minutes. Please note: Do not boil the pack! Do not microwave the "S" or "M" Series packs.
      How do I store the packs?

    There are two great reasons to store your packs in the freezer at all times: first, you never know when you might need them, so they'll always be ready; second, they'll last the longest if they're stored flat in the freezer. Never store your packs in a hot environment.
      Why is there white stuff on my packs?

    Don't worry - what you're seeing is a salt residue. We apologize for any inconvenience; simply wipe with a damp cloth. It is non-toxic, but wash your hands afterward.
      How do I clean the packs?

    If your packs get dirty, clean them with warm, soapy water on a damp cloth.
      Are the packs flammable?

    There are no ingredients in the packs that would be flammable.
      Can I return the packs if I don't like them?

    Yes, you have 30 days to make a return. We want you to be completely satisfied with any product you purchase from us. If for any reason you're not, give us a call and we'll make it right.
     
    Can I use the packs directly on my skin?

    Please don't! Always use a cover or cloth to protect skin from burns or frostbite. We sell covers for most of our packs, and check out our Soft Ice® Compression Wraps - they add a gentle and adjustable compression while protecting your skin.
       Back to Top
      Soft Ice® Wraps
      How do I clean my wrap?

    Hand wash in warm water using a mild soap detergent. Hang and let air dry.
      Where do the packs go?

    The packs will fit into custom-sized built-in insulated pockets within each wrap, so it should be clear where each pack should go.
      How does compression help?

    Compression is essential to the R.I.C.E. method, a common recommendation for all first aid and acute injuries: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. When you are hurt or are in pain, R.I.C.E. is the key to the four basic methods of facilitating injury recovery and reducing pain. Compression (gentle pressure) helps limit and reduce swelling, which is important to decrease bleeding and keep fluids from pooling in the area. It can also help to relieve your pain.
       Back to Top
      Thera-Temp® Moist Heat Therapy
      What is the difference between moist and dry heat?

    Moist and dry heat are the most common superficial heat therapy treatments. However, moist heat is more effective than dry heat in providing deeper penetration of the tissue at the same temperatures. Moist heat also has additional capacity to change the tissue temperature rapidly and obtain more vigorous response from temperature receptors. Patients often report greater relief of symptoms from moist heat. Moist heat can speed recovery by increasing blood flow to the targeted area. This increased circulation brings in fresh blood and takes away the wastes which may slow healing. Our Thera-Temp® Microwaveable Moist Heat Wraps product moist heat by drawing moisture from humidity in the air and retaining it in therapeutic beads.
      How to dry and moist heat compare?

    Comparison indicates that moist heat has many advantages over dry heat: Moist heat is more effective than dry heat in deeper tissue heating.
    • Moist heat penetrates more than dry heat at the same temperature
    • Moist heat has additional capacity to change the tissue temperature rapidly and obtain more vigorous response from temperature receptors
    • Patients often report greater relief of symptoms from moist heat
    • Moist heat is preferred over dry heat as a treatment or component of the treatment for the following conditions: pain, stiffness and secondary muscle spasm in chronic arthritis, acute temporomandibular joint closed lock condition, and pain and muscle spasm on posterior neck and back in patients with anklyosing spondolytis
      When should I use heat therapy?

    Heat or Moist Heat Therapy should be used for chronic conditions such as muscle discomfort or stiffness. For example, for some people, nothing soothes their back pain like a hot pack. In a 2002 study published in the medical journal Spine, investigators at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey concluded that the continuous application of low-level heat wrap therapy eased low back pain better than two common over-the-counter painkillers.  Heat therapy can also be used before exercise to increase the flexibility of joints and to increase blood flow. (Note: You should not use heat therapy after exercise. Instead, use cold therapy.) Because heat therapy increases circulation and increases the skin temperature, it should not be used when there is any swelling or inflammation. 
      How should I use heat therapy?

    The best way to apply moist heat or heat is to alternate 20 minutes of heat therapy with a 20 minute break. Repeat this process for three to four times daily until the stiffness and soreness decreases. It is important when using heat therapy to always have enough barrier between the skin surface and the heat pack to protect the skin.
      What precautions should I take when using heat therapy?
    • Most therapists and doctors advise not to use heat right after an injury, as this will have the opposite effect of ice. Heat increases blood flow and relaxes muscles. It's good for easing tight muscles, but it will only increase the pain and swelling of an injury.
    • Heat therapy should not be used on people who have circulatory problems, who are unconscious, who cannot feel or respond to heat (e.g. in paralysis.)
    • Take care not to burn or damage the skin. Use extra caution if you are a diabetic.
    • Place a soft towel or cloth between the heating pack and the skin.
    • Take care when using a heat pack if you are taking medicines that make you sleepy or if the area being treated is numb.
    • Limit the heat therapy at first to 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Try 10 minutes every one to two hours.
    • Wait at least 24-hours before applying heat to skin that has been bruised, cut or used for an injection or subjects to any "invasive" procedure. (Note: heat can increase bleeding.)
    • Important: If the area in inflamed or sore from overuse, use cold therapy, NOT heat therapy!
       Back to Top
      Trigger Point Massage
      Why not just use Dixie Cups?

    Frozen water in Dixie Cups melt during therapy, which is messy and inconvenient. Trigger Point Massage Products are neat and efficient, and are ergonomically designed for the user's hand as well. Roller Ice is reusable and less wasteful than Dixie Cups. They can be heated as well!
      What conditions benefit from the Roller Ice?

    Use for headaches, migraines, strains, sprains, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, TMJ, plantar fasciitis and much more!
      How do I clean my Roller Ice?

    Clean the rubber bulb with warm, soapy water. Dip a cotton ball in Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and rub it over the roller ball. If the ball is struggling to roll, some WD40 (lubricant) on a cotton ball should help it roll freely again.
       To use as a Hot Therapy Tool...

    Boil water and remove water from heat. Place the Roller Ice in the hot water for up to 5 minutes. Please note: Do not boil! Do not microwave!
      Is is safe to use directly on the skin?

    Yes. If heated, test with a light touch first to be sure that the Roller Ice is not too hot.
       Back to Top
     

    Let's Talk.

    3380 Cavalier Trail
    Stow, Ohio 44224
    Ph: 1.800.763.8423 • 330.253.9973
    Fax: 330.253.4233
    Hours: M-F 8:00 am - 5:00 pm EST
    polar@polarproducts.com
    Copyright 2017 Polar Products Inc. All Rights Reserved. Site Map
     
    I Can Help! What Questions Do You Have?X