Does that mean all heat is bad?
Not necessarily, heat has it’s place. Much like a fireplace protecting the house from the outside cold, inflammation and heat can serve it’s purpose. Inflammation let’s us know when things aren’t right by activating the immune system. The signals of pain are telling to, “PLEASE HELP!” So don’t ignore them. Your body is communicating with you, just listen.
When patients are past the acute phase of pain, some heat may be beneficial but this is on a case by case basis. In addition to applying heat, I recommend patients move or stretch afterwards. Just like you would jog to warm up for a sport or lift light weights before stacking the heavy ones, you are warming up muscles. Adding heat to a muscle warms it up so it’s best to move around afterwards, instead of sitting or laying down. All the swelling and added blood flow to the area with no movement may result in more pain and stiffness later.