Hot packs are a way of transferring heat to the patient by conduction. Commercial hot pack is the most common way to deliver superficial moist heat and the heating unit is called hydrocollator unit. There are different techniques to deliver heat including the use of hot packs, hot water baths, hot stone massage. Massage helps soothing your muscles and relieve tense and stiff muscles. In hot stone massage hot stones are placed over specific body parts.
Hydrocollator unit is a stainless steal tank in which silica gel packs or Bentonite crystal packs are heated. The capacities of the machines vary, and all units have insulated bases, the larger machines being insulated with fiber glass. The units contain a wire rack which acts as a divider for the packs and prevents contact of packs with the bottom of the tank.
These packs are stored in thermostatically controlled and maintains water in the unit at a temperature between 70 degrees & 80 degrees Celsius.
Hydrocollator pack is a fabric envelope containing silica gel or bentonite crystal packs. These packs are heated in hydrocollator unit. It gives heat for 30 to 40 minutes. The packs last about 6 months. When it become to wear out filler leaks out its the time to replace it. Pack is applied after wrapping it in towel or blanket. Pack is above 75 degrees Celsius but body temp. don’t exceed 42 degrees Celsius.
Physiological Effects of Hydrocollator:
- Hemodynamic effect
- Neuromuscular effect
- Metabolic effect
- Tissue extensibility
- Increased NCV
- Increase pain threshold
- Changes in muscle strength
- Increased metabolic rate
- Increased tissue extensibility
- Muscle spasm
- Impaired skin sensation
- Circulatory dysfunction
- Analgesic drugs
- Infection & open wounds
- Cancer & tuberculosis
- Gross edema
- Lack of comprehension
- Deep X-ray Therapy
- Liniment (Rubbing to alleviate pain)
Hydrocollator pack is easy to apply. Low cost, minimal maintenance, long life. Maximal temperatures are more uniform than in electrically-heating pads. The Patient does not need much handling.
Hydrocollator pack is not easily applied around hips and shoulders. It is somewhat heavy and should not be used on extremely sensitive patients. It can create discomfort. Moist packs have a tendency to cause skin rash.
Application of Hydrocollator:
Remove the pack from unit and place it on the table. Fold another towel into 4-6 layers and place it over the pack. Wrap the whole pack up with bottom with towel. The temperature of the wrapped pack should not exceed 44 degrees Celsius. Ask patient for feedback and visually inspecting skin. During treatment maintain position of hot pack. Ensure that it does not exacerbate pain, discomfort or occlude circulation.