Heat or Ice?
When should you apply heat? When should you apply ice? Confusion abounds about these simple, yet helpful procedures. Use heat in the wrong circumstance and you can make the problem worse. Think back to high school chemistry. How do you slow down a reaction? You make it cool. So if you are trying to reduce inflammation use ice. Ice constricts blood vessels, helping to avoid muscle spasms and reduce swelling. It can also reduce nerve transmission of pain. Ice when used properly becomes a natural local anesthetic. Apply ice 15 to 20 minutes on and then off, allowing the area to warm up.
On the other hand, if you want to speed up a reaction, add heat. Topical heat can help increase blood circulation and improve flexibility. If you have a history of tight joints and muscle stiffness apply moist heat. Most people will take a hot shower or bath and feel some relief and think they should apply heat. But in the shower or tub your whole body is warm so it is just relaxing. If you apply localized heat to an area, that area is now warmer than the rest of the body and it will draw fluid to an already swollen area. Ice will push fluid out of the area and reduce inflammation. When pain and soreness are present always think ice. We use ice probably 95% of the time and you can never get in trouble with ice. Think of an athlete after a game or practice, they all ice.
Fairport Chiropractic1157 Fairport Road
Fairport, NY 14450