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To heat or to ice?


Heat and ice are both used for treating pain; fortunately, both of these can be done at the comfort of your own home. Heat therapy is used for muscular injuries such as a pulled muscle. Through the application of heat, blood supply and flow is restored to the muscle and therefore provides relaxation and relief from muscle soreness. However, it is important to remember that heat is ONLY used for muscular injuries. If you are unsure whether or not your conditions pertain to a muscular injury, then we recommend that you use ice. Icing is used for recent, acute injuries. After an injury, tissue may become inflamed and start to swell. Therefore, ice will aid in suppressing the inflammation and swelling—furthermore, relieve pain.

 

How to heat:

When using a heating pad, make sure there is a towel, t-shirt, etc. between the pad and skin in order to avoid burning your skin. Heat should be applied for no more than ten minutes at a time. In addition, different parts of the body may handle heat better than others.  After heating, follow up with stretches; for example, if you are heating your low back, then perform low back stretches after removing the heat pad. We recommend that you avoid using heat more than two times a day.

How to ice:

When using an ice pack, make sure there is a towel, t-shirt, etc. between the pad and skin in order to avoid frostbite or further damage. Ice for twenty minutes at a time and then remove ice for the rest of the hour. Ice should not be used for more than twenty minutes to allow the body to heat up and wash away waste products that cause inflammation. Ice every hour if you are in extreme pain. Ice for twenty minutes then remove for forty minutes and repeat if necessary.