A while ago I was sent some Deep Heat and Deep Freeze patches to try.
They also sent me some information as to when each product is suitable to use, which I found really useful as I am never sure when heat or ice is best. They also included some Top Tips from John Miles, a professional physio.
Deep Heat works on several levels. As a counter-irritant it helps dilate blood vessels and relaxes muscles, while its warming action triggers sensory signals which damp down discomfort by flooding pain pathways with competing sensory messages. It’s a trusted brand where its soothing warmth has become a sporting staple. A growing number of users have also cottoned on to the power of the rub or spray to prevent injury and use Deep Heat as part of their warm-up routine. If an injury occurs, it is best to use Deep Freeze initially for first for the 72 hours and then switch to Deep Heat to manage your recovery. Deep Heat is much more than a pain reliever. It not only prepares your muscles for sport as well as offering pain relief, but the heat it provides helps with the remodeling of the muscle after injury and it increases the blood flow so it provides the essential nutrients direct to the site of pain.
Deep Heat Patch
Deep Heat Patch provides effective, warming relief from muscular aches and pains, joint stiffness and backaches for up to eight hours. Each patch contains iron and activated charcoal. When the pack is opened, the air activates a heat generating reaction that produces a warming effect when the patch is applied to the skin. This local, superficial heat improves the circulation to the muscles, so reducing pain and stiffness. Each Deep Heat Patch is active for up to eight hours after the pack is opened, providing long-lasting, deep-relieving warmth. With no smell and no associated grease, the self-adhesive patches are easy to apply and convenient for use during the day.
Unlike Deep Heat, Deep Freeze uses cold analgesia to take advantage of the ‘gateway’ pain relief principle in which cold signals can block out or reduce competing pain signals along the nervous system. Cold analgesia is recommended during these early stages following an injury or trauma such as strains, sprains or knocks. It is the ‘I’ in the established principles of PRICE (pressure, rest, ice, compression and elevation). These principles are most important in the first 72 hours following an injury and provide the tissues with the best possible environment for recovery, ultimately leading to a quicker return to normal mobility and freedom from pain. The benefits of a cold analgesic preparation include: Helping to reduce the blood flow to the damaged area; Helping with the reduction of clot formation and tissue bleeding; Helping to reduce the swelling; Helping the reduction of inflammatory activity in cells; Helping to reduce pain by stimulating the receptors in the superficial nerve endings to trigger the transmission of sensory signals to the brain which compete with and dilute the pain signals arising from the damaged tissue.
Deep Freeze Cold Patch
Deep Freeze Cold Patch offers initial, effective pain relief, just like an ice pack, and provides long-lasting cold analgesia to the site of pain. The adhesive patch is applied simply and easily, and can be worn without restricting movement or needing to be replaced frequently to maintain the cooling effect.
DEEP HEAT TOP TIPS
John Miles, head of medical and phsyio services at Cardiff Blues, offers his top tips on using heat therapy to prevent and treat muscular and ligament aches, sprains and pains.
- For muscle injury prevention – For those people who suffer with stiff hamstrings, calves or lower back pain when exercising, the application of Deep Heat over the muscle prior to exercise can be a great benefit in stimulating blood flow and therefore reducing muscle soreness and potential problems.
- Returning from injury – When returning from injury, particularly concerning muscle issues, the site of injury can often remain stiff for a while. Applying Deep Heat over the general area will immediately warm up the area bringing blood flow and oxygen back allowing normal movement to resume again. This speeds up the body’s ability to recover normal full function again.
- Cold weather activity – Whether you are preparing for a light run or a day in the garden, it’s important to get warm and remain warm while carrying out your activity to avoid and relieve muscular stiffness and cramps. A great tip for keeping hands warm when out in the cold is to apply Deep Heat to the back of the hands as this will stimulate blood flow to the area and in doing so keep the hands warm.
- Cramping – For those who suffer with cramp either when running or just in general day-to-day life may find benefits from applying Deep Heat over the main muscle area of the calves, or where cramp tends to appear for you personally. This will improve the circulation to the area and keep a fresh supply of blood in the muscle.
DEEP FREEZE TOP TIPS
- Like an ice pack, but more convenient and easier to use, Deep Freeze works by lowering the temperature of the skin and underlying tissue which helps numb nerve endings and reduces both pain and inflammation. It contains menthol, aloe vera and water in a hydro-gel layer which slowly evaporates to produce prolonged cooling relief.
- Immediately after strains and sprains – After minor joint, tendon, ligament or muscle injury, the usual advice from medical professionals is the P.R.I.C.E regime (protect the area, rest, ice, compression, elevation). However when out and about ice is not always easy to come by. An excellent solution here is the application of Deep Freeze Patch. It has been proven to give an immediate cooling effect to the area and therefore will assist with the reduction of swelling to a recently injured area.
- Recovery post exercise – Sometimes, after a work-out or even a particularly challenging day in the garden, muscles and joints will feel hot and often throb. This is usually the body’s response to stress and most likely a mild inflammatory response. Applying Deep Freeze Spray to the area will provide not only a pain relieving effect but also a cooling anti-inflammatory response.
- General cooling down – Deep Freeze can be a great help in recovering after running, cross-training or a gym session, by allowing muscles to settle down. Just apply Deep Freeze Gel over the general area, which will create a flushing of fresh blood through the muscle and aid with recovery.
- Keeping cool – When out rambling, climbing or just working on a hot day, applying Deep Freeze Spray, Deep Freeze Gel or Deep Freeze Patch to the wrists and calves can help keep the muscles cool and stop general overheating.
So, how did I get on with them? I hurt my shoulder a few weeks ago and was going to use a patch overnight, but then I read the instructions and you can’t, so I put one on in the morning instead.
It heated up really quickly, and did provide some relief. I think also I was more conscious of my shoulder so I was careful when moving, and mindful of sitting up straight. It is only meant to be left on for 8 hours but I couldn’t take it off at work and kept it on a little longer, whoops.
The only thing I would say (and they do warn about this on the packet) is that it did irritate my skin a bit, but I do have a mild allergy to plasters so it was the fact that something was stuck to my skin as opposed to what was in the patch if that makes sense. But my skin only got irritated after several hours, and once the patch was taken off my skin was fine, so I would use the patches again. I do like using normal Deep Heat but I am not a massive fan of the smell, plus it gets on my clothes too, so I think these patches are really good.
Do you use anything to help after exercise? Do you know when to use heat or ice? I also like the sound of having some Deep Heat cream to warm up my hands on a cold day!
In other news I went to parkrun today and what a beautiful day it was too. I actually got there early for once, and bumped into someone else from the Sweatshop club (the faster girl who I managed to keep in sight this week). It was the off road route but at least the grass and mud is now just soft and not slippery. Before I went I decided to aim for 28.59, as my previous times on the off road course have been 30.36 and 29.41. I felt like I had sped up a bit but I also know that the hills means it is not close to my 5K pb. Anyway, I pushed very hard and found the final lap very tough. I had kept the girl in sight but she was just too far ahead for me to catch up. Then as I was going up the hill for the final time I heard someone call “hey Maria”- it was someone who has not been to Sweatshop for ages, so we chatted briefly before we said we would catch up at the finish line. I was really struggling by that point- possibly a waffle for Friday night dinner and then half a clif bar was not the best fuelling strategy, but normally before a parkrun I don’t have any breakfast. Then just before the finish line someone else called my name- a girl from work was there with her children (they had already finished, what a speedy family)- it was great to see some familiar faces.
Originally I had put down to run 10 miles this weekend, as I saw a nice looking local 10 mile race, but by the time i had checked that I was free it had sold out. So I took my things with me with a view to doing 6 miles, like I did the other week. But I felt so tired that I told myself I would just go home. But then I chatted to the girl at the finish- she was doing some cool down laps and an 8 mile run tomorrow, so I decided that I could manage a couple of miles as a cool down- then at least I would be 50% of the way to my long run pledge. I took it very slow though!
Later on the results came through- 28.36! Not bad at all- a pb on that course and pretty close to my prediction.