Hot and cold compresses function by applying moist heat or cold to an area of the body to provide relief from pain and stiffness. There are two types of treatment, hot and cold, and both have a specific and distinct role in the treatment of muscle pain, sprains, increasing circulation, and reducing pain and congestion. Hot compresses are used to treat old injuries, muscle pain, rheumatic pain, and the like. Cold compresses are used for recent sprains, bruising, swelling and inflammation, fever and headaches. When used in concert, cold compesses are used to numb pain, followed by warmth which relaxes the area and eliminates any residual pain. Wraps are used to hold the compresses in place, all the while allowing increased mobility.
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