When you get injured, do you use ice or heat?
I find that people want to go for heat before they go for ice because it feels better warm than cold. But there are definitive rules on the use of both.
When to Use Ice.
Always use ice for the first 24 hours after an injury. Cold makes blood vessels constrict, which reduces pain caused by inflammation. Also, use for inflammation reduction after activity – think of a baseball player icing a shoulder after a game. Ice packs or frozen vegetables such as peas can be used.
When to Use Heat
Heat is a good pain reducer for chronic pain, but only after an area has healed. Heat relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow, which helps to aid healing. This of back soreness after a long drive or finger pain from arthritis. Use a hot water bottle or towel soaked in warm water for your hot compress.
Never apply heat or ice over skin that is damaged by rash, cuts or abrasions. Place a damp cloth on the skin under the heat/ice pack and don’t use the pack more than 20 minutes every hour.
If you ever have a question on which home treatment you should be using, please call the office and I will be happy to guide you.