Thermotherapy or therapeutic heating, is used for muscle pains. Heat is used on trigger points, or muscle knots. Muscle knots form when chronic stress appears and micro tearing causes scar tissue. Scar tissue is permanent and does not change. Muscle knots, if not treated can lose elasticity and cause postural stress that can be hard to reverse. Some simple tips can be used to avoid knots. Diet/hydration, taking breaks and exercising can help reduce the risk of knots. Massages, rest and lifestyle can help with knots as well.
Heat is used for non- inflammatory body pain. It can be used for relaxation, comfort, and reassurance. The pains that heat can be used on are dull and persistent. These pains can be linked to cramping or stiffness. Acute soreness from over-exertion, osteoarthritis, menstrual cramping, restless leg syndrome, sleep deprivation, and fibromyalgia are common reasons to use a hot water bottle, or water.
Just like cold therapy, thermotherapy should not be used for certain occasions. Infection, or open wounds should not have heat applied to them. People with appendicitis, 2nd degree burns should not either. Heat should not be used for inflammation. Low back pain is placed on the grey scale. Some people say ice, while others say heat.
In thermotherapy, localized heating and systematic heating can be used. Localized heating is applied to a specific spot. This can be done with a water bottle, gel pack or bean bag. Systematic heating is raising the whole body temperature. Systematic heating is like cryotherapy, in the way the internal body temperature will change. Surface temperature will raise in hot waters like Jacuzzis, steam baths or hot showers, which raise internal temperatures.