Thursday, May 19, 2005


Spring-Summer Aches and Pains: Heat or Cold? Go for Cold

If you live in a part of the country where warm weather is finally breaking out (yeah!), no doubt you'll soon overdo SOMETHING -- work too long in the garden, go for a run, take a long bike ride, play another set of tennis... You get my drift. Eventually, SOMETHING will hurt.

And when it does, remember that most aches and pains involve some sort of swelling (which doctors call inflammation). Heat makes things swell, too, so if you experience any of these aches and pains, don't soak your bod in hot water or wrap it with heat wraps or hot-water bottles. Go find something COLD and slap in on there!

I've found that frozen bags of vegetables ('specially corn and peas) work best to help as a spot pain-reliever, because you can "form-fit" them to you body and deliver a steady does of coldness to reduce the swelling. Fit a bag around your elbow, your knee, on your shoulder, or sit with it at the base of your spine for lower back pain.

If you sit in a hot tub, stay AWAY from those blasting jets, particularly the ones aimed at your low back. One of the body's biggest hunks of connective tissue is located at the base of the spine, and sitting on it while it's hot eventually changes its entire shape and can give you problems for a long time...chronic pain, stiffness, even fibromylgia.

So when you have to choose been that yummy-feeling warmth and a cold dose of reality, go for the cold. You'll get out of pain quicker.

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