How do i know whether to use ice or heat after an injury?

by admin

Ice packPeople often ask me which is better to use to facilitate healing, ice or heat. To determine this, its helpful to understand what ice and heat do to the tissues.

ICE: decreases the flow of circulation, decreases swelling after an acute injury, decreases pain impulses, and INCREASES muscle and ligament tension. Best applied after an acute injury in which a sprain/strain has occurred and where there is swelling. Also, when unusual or strenuous physical activity is followed by muscle or joint pain, its best to apply ice. Never apply ice directly to the skin, wrap the ice pack in a cloth before placing over the injured area. Ice is typically applied for :10 minutes every hour for the first 1-3 days, but its best to consult your doctor for the exact treatment frequency.

HEAT: increases circulation of blood and decreases muscle and ligament tension. Best used to relieve chronic muscle and ligament tension. Moist heat penetrates deeper into the body than dry heat and be sure to dry the area after use to prevent rapid cooling.

Hope that helps!! If you have questions let me know, I’d be happy to help.

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