If your elderly family member has been experiencing aches and pains that have been difficult to manage, heat or ice might be part of her treatment plan. The key is to know when to use ice, heat, or even both to try to make the pain go away. Once you do find the right combination, pain relief can be much easier for your senior.
Heat Can Help Muscles and Joints
If your senior’s muscles or joints feel tight and tender to the touch, heat can help them to loosen up. This can be helpful if your elderly family member is dealing with older injuries that have healed but that become aggravated from time to time. Heat isn’t a good idea for new injuries, injuries with broken skin, or injuries that feel swollen.
Ice Can Help Chronic Pain or New Injuries
Chronic pain like arthritis can benefit from periodic treatments with ice. The ice helps to numb painful sensations, especially deep in joints. Ice can also help new injuries because it reduces swelling and can help bleeding to stop. People with chronic headaches often experience pain relief from ice or from a cold wrap in the area of the most pain.
Alternating Ice and Heat
In some cases, alternating ice and heat can provide the most pain relief. Heat warms up the area, which can make movement a little bit easier, and then ice relieves swelling. Your senior might also find that ice is more helpful at certain times of the day while heat helps more at other times. Experimenting with the timing can help, as can leaving a little time in between the ice and the heat.
Her Doctor Can Help Find the Right Combination
Your senior’s doctor or physical therapist might recommend a specific rotation between ice and heat that is designed to do the most for her particular injury or pain. Timing those rotations properly can make a big difference. So too can changing up the types of heat. Sometimes a soak in a warm bath can help more than a heating pad, for instance.
It’s difficult sometimes to apply ice or heat properly to certain parts of the body. This is something that senior care providers can help your elderly family member to do on a regular basis in between other things they help her do. It’s another way that you can help your senior even when you can’t be there with her.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Senior Care in South Hill, WA, please contact the caring staff at Wiser Care Services. Phone: (877) 279-5530. Serving all of Pierce County and South King County.
Excerpt: Ice and heat are possible options for both chronic pain and injuries or muscle pains. The trick can be in determining which is helpful in specific situations.