One of the most affordable and most effective pain remedies is in your kitchen or first aid kit. Both ice and heat have remarkable pain relieving powers, but when do you use which, or should you alternate?

If you suffer from chronic pain, there are many ways heating the areas in pain or using ice can make your life better. Especially if you have arthritis, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease or other chronic diseases.

Here’s why heating helps:

If you have any of the diseases mentioned above or have another type of chronic illness, warmth can almost feel like magic. Applying heat to sore muscles helps them relax, Everyday Health reports. The simple act of heating goes a long way towards relieving pain and stiffness in your tormented muscles. Plus, heat boosts blood flow to those sore areas and removes lactic acid buildup. A buildup of this acid is known to promote pain.

Even something as basic as a good, old-fashioned hot water bottle can ease chronic pain. Image CC by 0, by Biff, via Pixabay

Having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 15, I can also attest to the fact that a hot bath works wonders. There have been some days when I can barely get out of bed, and that warm water waiting for me was just what I needed to get going. And, of course, a hot bath at night is very conducive to relaxation and sleep.

But if you’re also dealing with inflammation, it sometimes helps to chill out a bit. Especially if you’re dealing with lower back pain, which is something that’s common to several of the diseases and conditions mentioned above.

Using Ice Or Heat For Back Pain Can Work Wonders

Ice or cold packs can greatly reduce pain and swelling. You can purchase a cold pack over the counter — or make your own.

This video shows just how easy it is to make your own.

Here are a few other ways to make your own:

  • Try an ice towel. Simply wet a towel and then squeeze it until it is barely damp. Fold it in a plastic towel, place it in a plastic bag, and pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove the towel from the bag and place it on the area that’s hurting.
  • Make a homemade slush pack. Mix three cups (709.78 mL) water with one cup (236.59 mL) of denatured alcohol in a freezer bag. Seal the bag and place it in the freezer until it becomes slushy. You can re-freeze the bag when the slush melts.
  • Give an ice cup a try. This is really simple — fill a paper cup with water until it’s two-thirds full. Freeze it until it’s solid ice. Peel the paper away until the ice is exposed, and rub the ice over the problem area for three to five minutes.

Now that’s pain relief made simple!

So When Can You Use Heat Or Ice For Pain?

Well, we’ve pretty much lucked out here because there are a number of conditions that respond well to heating and ice pack therapy. The Cleveland Clinic notes that chronic conditions like gout (a type of arthritis that attacks our big toes, instep, ankles, fingers, heels, knees, wrists and elbows), other forms of arthritis, and tendinosis (hallmarked by chronic stiffness and irritation in tendons attached to joints) all respond well to these soothing therapies.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that with a few simple steps you can feel much better?

Featured image: CC by 0, by thommas68, via Pixabay

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