When it comes to pain and injuries, it’s extremely important to know when to use heat vs ice. The rule of thumb is that heat is for muscles and ice is for injuries.
If you are suffering from cramping or achy joints, nothing beats a hot water bottle or wheat bag. This is because heat increases blood flow. This in turn relaxes those muscles and settles them down. Heat also reduces inflammation whereas ice is excellent for swelling.
Whan To Use Heat Vs Ice
via Cleveland Clinic
When it comes to treating injuries that are less than 6 weeks, ice is the correct choice. Alternately, if you are treating chronic pain from arthritis or injuries older than 6 weeks, heat is appropriate.
The reason is that when you use heat on an older injury, it speeds up the healing process. This is mainly due to increased blood flow to the area. It will also limber up the area so you have a greater range of movement.
It is said that cold therapy, with compression, can decrease your pain by up to 64%. As you can see it is definitely worth clueing yourself up.
How Long To Use Therapy
via Health Set Go
When it comes to applying heat or ice, it’s important not to overdo it. Use any sort of temperature therapy for no longer than 20-minute intervals, with a 20-minute break in-between.
If you have low circulation in that area or are numb because of an injury, be extra sure to keep track of time so you don’t burn your skin.
If you are using a heating blanket, always turn it off before falling asleep. This will ensure that you don’t overheat in your sleep.
Once again, new injuries are best treated with ice, while older injuries and chronic pain are best treated with heat. When in doubt use ice.
Ice Vs Heat Video Tutorial
via Andrea Furlan
In this video, Dr Andrea Furlan explains when to choose heat or cold to treat pain. Ice is used in acute injuries when there is inflammation and swelling.
Heat is mainly used to relax the muscles such as trigger points from myofascial pain syndrome. To hear her explanation, press play above now ^