Why heat is the answer to painful and stiff muscles.
Using a hot water bottle to ease pain has become somewhat of an old wives tale, but modern science has shown that it’s not so much a placebo, as it is an actual relief. Time and again, heat has shown to help minimise aches and pains associated with exercise, injury and stiff muscles. For centuries, heat has been used as an effective pain reliever that provides almost instant relief, while assisting the body’s natural recovery process.
When heat is applied to painful or stiff muscles or joints, the body’s sensory receptors are stimulated to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. This results in effective, temporary pain relief, even in the case of chronic pain.
Heat has shown to be one of the most effective pain relievers among athletes and those who exercise on a regular basis.
How does heat help ease pain?
When heat is applied to sore muscles, it increases tissue elasticity, and reduces your resting muscle tension. It assists the muscles in relaxing, thus helping reduce the pain from painful knots.
Heat increases blood flow. When heat is applied to a painful area, more blood flows to the area, bringing nutrients and oxygen which are needed for the injury to heal. This blood flow also helps flush out the injured debris faster, and increase the healing speed. Recovery time is thus shortened.
Researchers have found that heat can deactivate internal pain at a molecular level, in a similar way to that of an over-the-counter painkiller. Studies conducted at the University College London showed that when heat is applied to the area of injury, heat receptors are turned on and pain receptors are temporarily turned off.
The feeling of heat on the skin has what is generally referred to as an “analgesic” effect. Warmth is comforting, and can alter the body’s perception of pain so that it does not hurt as much.
Heat is best used to relieve four types of pain:
- Sprains and strains
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle stiffnessFor effective relief from pain, inflammation and muscle stiffness, we recommend Wintergreen’s Hot Muscle Cream.
Vigorous rubbing of the Hot Muscle Cream activates the heating elements in its powerful Casicum (Chilli Oil) based formulation, increasing blood flow to the affected area. The heating effect is long lasting and can be used to help counteract feelings of muscle stiffness and tightness, relieve muscle spasms and reduce inflammation.
It’s perfect to use before your workout, as it will activate when your body temperature increases. The heating sensation will last up to 8 hours.
Available in a 75ml tube (R45) and 500ml tub (R100), at various retail outlets and pharmacies (http://wintergreen.co.za/store-locator/).