For starters, don't apply just after an injury
(HealthDay News) -- Heat therapy can ease pain and stiffness, muscle tightness and spasms.
The University of Michigan Health System explains the best uses for heat therapy:
- Use heat to help loosen up stiff muscles and joints and make them more limber.
- Do not use heat immediately after an injury or if there is swelling. Heat may worsen swelling by increasing blood flow to the area.
- Apply moist heat, which tends to be more effective than dry heat.
- Soak a towel in hot water, microwave a damp towel or use a commercial heat pack to provide moist heat. Apply it for about 20 minutes, or as long as your doctor recommends.
- Soak in a hot tub or whirlpool bath.