Cold vs. Heat

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | November 2nd, 2016

The question we get a lot in our office when should I use ice and when should I use heat?

Cold Therapy

What is does:

  • Cold therapy slows down the blood flow to an injury, which reduces swelling, inflammation and pain

When to use it:

  • Ice should be used right after an injury or after activity that aggravates a chronic condition
  • Ice is good for migraine headaches, bumps, strains/sprains that may occur with sports, slips falls or lifting
  • When in doubt use ICE!!

Safety Tips

  • Treatment should not last more than 20 minutes at a time
  • Do not use ice if you have no feeling in the affected body part
  • Do not apply ice packs directly to the skin, use a towel
  • Do not use ice if you have poor circulation, such as if you have diabetes
  • Wait 1 hour between cold treatments

Heat Therapy

What is does:

  • Heat therapy opens blood vessels, which increases blood flow, cuts down pain and relaxes muscles.

When to use it:

  • Heat is a great way to help loosen up stiff joints and tight muscles
  • it is also good method of pain relief for tension headaches and other chronic conditions.
  • Always wait 48-72 hours after an injury before considering heat therapy. When in doubt use ice.

Safety Tips

  • Treatment should not last more than 20 minutes at a time
  • Do not use heat if you have no feeling in the affected body part
  • NEVER use heat if there is swelling or bruising
  • Do not apply heat directly to the skin, use a towel
  • Do not use heat if you have poor circulation, such as if you have diabetes
  • Wait 1 hour between heat treatments

*You can alternate between ice and heat every hour*

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