Did you get injured during a workout or by simply moving the wrong way? Most people either go for a heating bad or ice pack...or both. There is usually a lot of confusion around when to use heat or cold to treat injuries. I'm here to help you put an end to your confusion for good. Here's the breakdown for your fire or ice treatment needs:
Ice, Ice, Baby
Generally ice is the better choice for injuries and inflammation. The cold restricts blood flow and reduces swelling and inflammation. So any time there's bleeding in the underlying tissues, like sprains, strains, or bruising, grab the ice. There are two ways for ice treatment:
Immediate treatment: prevents the injured area from becoming stiff by reducing tissue fluid.
Rehabilitation: our physical therapists, massage therapists, and chiropractors will use cold therapy to reduce pain and spasms allowing for better movement.
If you have poor circulation, then cold therapy probably won't work well for you. If you apply ice for too long or directly, you may experience skin, tissue, or nerve damage. Anyone with cardiovascular disease should always consult with their doctor before using cold therapy.
Time for a Heat Wave
Heat is a great method for relaxing. While ice restricts blood vessels, heat opens them, increasing blood flow to an affected area. This is perfect for most aches and pains, and generally good for repairing damaged tissue since increased blood flow stimulates healing. You'll usually experience relief from minor stiffness and tension within 15-20 minutes of heat therapy.
It is important not to burn yourself during heat therapy. This seems like an obvious statement, but it happens a lot. If you have swelling or bruising, heat is not the right call. Never use heat therapy near open wounds, and if you suffer from heart disease or hypertension ask your doctor before using heat treatment.
The Ultimate Treatment
When it comes to injuries caused by physical activity, cold and heat are super beneficial, but they’re not long-term solutions. A healthy musculoskeletal system is critical to overall health and healing, affecting how the entire body functions. Regular chiropractic adjustments help reduce tension and pain by utilizing the body’s natural healing process. Choosing chiropractic as the first line of defense once injured decreases the likelihood of surgery and further injury!