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Heat Therapy

Heat therapy is a treatment used to help relieve pain and muscle stiffness.  Heat therapy is commonly used to reduce long-lasting or chronic pain.  There are many forms of heat therapy, including commercial heat packs, heating pads, and moist or dry heat packs.  Your doctor may prescribe heat therapy in conjunction with other treatments, including cold, exercise, and massage therapy.
Heat therapy causes blood vessels in the treated areas to dilate or open wider.  As a result, blood flow to the area is increased.  Sore stiff muscles may relax and become more flexible.  The increased blood flow may promote healing. 

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You may recieve heat therapy alone or in conjunction with other treatments.  You may be provided with a treatment schedule and specific instructions to use at home.  A heat pack or heating pad should be covered with a protective barrier, such as a towel and not come in direct contact with your skin.  You may repeat heat treatments as instructed by your doctor. 

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit