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Heat can reduce muscle spasms, reduce joint stiffness, improve local circulation and make soft tissue more limber. Heat can be used to help loosen tight muscles and joints as a warm up before exercise and rehabilitation. For example, you may put moist hot packs on tight leg muscles before running, or on your shoulder before throwing, or on tight neck or back muscles before physical therapy.
When should I use heat?
Use heat for stiff muscles and joints when you are trying to make them more limber. Do NOT use heat within the first 3 days after an injury (in this case use ice) or while your injury has any swelling because heat increases blood flow and can worsen swelling.
When is it used?
Electrical stimulation is often used to reduce pain and promote healing in an injured part of the body by stimulating the muscles. It is often used as part of a physical therapy and/or chiropractic program.
How is it used?
Electrodes are placed on the skin near the painful area and attached to a machine by wires. Low voltage electrical impulses are delivered to surface nerves in the skin. These impulses can be delivered at variable current strengths, pulse rates and pulse widths. The electrical current overloads the nerves that block the body’s pain signals. It may also help the body release endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. The goal is to try to find the best frequency and intensity to control the pain.