Cold Hot Packs

Written by Tara Peris
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Cold and hot packs allow patients to adjust the temperature of a compress pack in order to meet specific treatment needs. Patients can even alternate between hot and cold settings and adjust the temperature within a specific setting. This allows for highly regulated care that is likely to promote healing and faster recovery time.

Cold Packs, Heat Packs, or Both?

For acute injuries (sports injuries, most often), cold packs are most useful in reducing swelling. However, for ongoing (chronic) pain, hot packs are generally more useful in providing relief. There are many different types of cold and hot packs that your office may want to keep on hand--some are shaped especially for wrists or hands, some are shaped and colored (designed for use with children).

Cold packs most often store in the freezer. They should remain flexible at all times, however--if the material inside a cold pack freezes up and turns into a block, it is defective. Good cold packs should be able to maintain a constant temperature for about 30 minutes after being removed from cold storage.

Your practice may find it more convenient to keep hot/cold packs on hand that can be used to treat either acute or chronic injuries. Cold/hot packs can usually be heated in the microwave or chilled in the freezer. The gel inside the packs will remain pliable when heated or chilled so you can wrap them around a patient's injury.

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