One of the most common questions that we get asked, should I use heat or ice for my pain?
Typically we recommend ice for acute injuries. Injuries that have occurred within the last 72 hours should be treated with ice to reduce the pain and inflammation or swelling. Ice helps to minimize the swelling around the injury and decreasing the swelling will decrease the pain.
You should apply ice 15 minutes out of an hour and make sure that you wrap the ice in a cloth between the injured area and the ice. It is possible to get frostbite if you are not careful.
If you are active and have a chronic condition you could ice after activity, such as running or walking.
Heat is used to relax your tissues and muscles. Heat is usually used with chronic conditions. The muscles seem to relax when heat is applied. This also helps to improve circulation and can reduce muscle spasms.
Caution should be used when using heat, never leave heating pads on for longer than 15 minutes out of an hour. Application of heat can actually increase inflammation in tissues to so, it is important to always get a professional opinion.