When To Use Ice vs. Heat

Hello Everyone,

A common mistake that I see patients making is when and how to use ice versus heat to help manage pain and injuries.

The reasons for using ice and heat are very simple.  Once the reasoning is understood then the time to use each therapy will be easier to remember.

Ice is used primarily to reduce inflammation.  Inflammation is swelling that can occur from either an acute injury or a chronic condition.  As its name states, inflammation can be thought of as heat in a joint, in fact, sometimes the joint will actually be red and warm/hot to the touch.

Heat is used to increase circulation to an area and to relax muscles and warm up joints.

So as a general rule:  If you have recently suffered an injury and the joint is swollen, ice is what you want to choose.  Typically ice is a good choice for about 72 hours after an injury occurs. This will help to minimize any swelling in the joint.

After the 72 hour mark heat can be a good choice.

Always listen to your body.  The above are general rules to go by.  If for example you use heat after the 72 hour mark and the pain increases, it may be a good idea to continue with ice.

Also some other rules to follow:

Never lay or put your body weight directly on the ice or heat.

Keep a moist towel between your skin and the ice pack and a towel between you and the heating pad.

Never fall asleep on a heating pad or an ice pack.  Keep each therapy to a maximum of 20 minutes…then take 20 minutes off and you can perform the therapy again.

If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email or call the office.

Have a great day.

Dr. Price
www.DrSeanPrice.com
850-862-2224

(Dr. Price is a Chiropractor serving the Fort Walton Beach Community.  Dr. Price has had much success in treating patients suffering from Low Back Pain, Neck Pain, Headaches, Whiplash (or other injuries suffered in a car accident).  Utilizing his nonsurgical spinal decompression technologies, Dr. Price has helped many patients find long term relief from chronic pain conditions such as sciatica, spinal degeneration, herniated discs, buldging discs, and arthritis.  You can find Dr. Price in Fort Walton Beach by visiting www.DrSeanPrice.com or call his office at 850-862-2224.)

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