Do Hot Packs Help Reduce Pain?

Evidence-based recommendations have been issued by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The APTA partnered with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation’s Choosing Wisely® campaign to provide specific, evidence-based recommendations that encourage both patients and PTs to make wise decisions about the most appropriate care. APTA is one of the first non-physician groups, joining more than 50 medical specialty societies that have produced a list of 5 things members of their profession and patients should question.

  1. Don’t use (superficial or deep) heat to obtain clinically important long term outcomes in musculoskeletal conditions.
  2. Don’t prescribe under-dosed strength training programs for older adults. Instead, match the frequency, intensity and duration of exercise to the individual’s abilities and goals.
  3. Don’t recommend bed rest following diagnosis of acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT) after the initiation of anti-coagulation therapy, unless significant medical concerns are present.
  4. Don’t use continuous passive motion machines for the postoperative management of patients following uncomplicated total knee replacement.
  5. Don’t use whirlpools for wound management.


  1. “Choosing Wisely: The Right Care at the Right Time.” Choosing Wisely: The Right Care at the Right Time. American Physical Therapy Association, 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 22 March 2016.