The Misconceptions of Using Heat vs. Ice
HEAT vs. ICE Treating pain with hot and cold can be very effective for a wide variety of different conditions and injuries. The great thing about both is they are relatively inexpensive! The tricky part is knowing what situations calls for heat and which call for ice. By default, always try ice first, we often see better reports of lasting relief with cold therapy. Here are just some general rules of thumb to go by and how each one works:
When you are using ice on an injured or painful area, you are reducing blood flow to a generalized area. Using ice can significantly reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain. Icing also can temporarily reduce nerve activity, which can also help to relieve pain. ice should be used with acute injuries. inflammation and swelling. It can be applied for 10-20 minutes at a time with a barrier placed between the ice.
The way heat therapy works is by improving circulation and blood flow to a specific area. When you are warming up the tissues in sore or stiff muscle you may decrease discomfort and increase muscle flexibility. Heat therapy can relax and soothe muscles. It also can have the ability to assist in healing damaged tissue. Heat can be applied to sore or stiff muscles. It can also be effective in treating chronic pain. Heat can be applied for 20-30 minutes at a time with a barrier placed between the heating pad and skin.
The Take Away: They key is knowing when to use cold and when to use heat! Choosing the correct option can significantly increase the effectiveness of the treatment. You can also try alternating between ice and heat to see which works best for you!
*Do not use heat or ice if you have poor blood circulation or decreased sensation in the area you are applying. Do not apply heat to an infected or swollen area.
Functional Advantage Physical Therapy