When to use heat or ice for injuries? Let our chiropractor gold coast give you a piece of advice.
We see ALOT of injuries across the year. We have some favourites too, like ‘bitten by dolphin’ and ‘tackled by 4 year old nephew’. So if there is one thing we know how to do it is assess, treat and advise on acute injuries and pain. Our Chiropractor Gold Coast provide you with their advise.
We know that sometimes, you just want quick and immediate relief. Whether it’s from a fresh injury or a long-term problem. Traditional approaches to treating injuries include. Icing the area and putting on a heat pack, which are still both very useful. But, these two options play DIFFERENT roles in your healing and recovery.
Question: I’m injured, should I use ICE?
Using ICE (cold therapy) is generally best for “new” injuries. By “new,” we are referring to an injury that’s less than 2 weeks old. Ideally it is best if you can get it on an acute injury within 24-48 hours. After the injury or symptoms occurred – don’t wait around…. The sooner the better.
Injuries where you should use ICE can include such things as –
- a pulled or strained muscle
- bursitis – including joint swelling
- a sprain or tendinitis
FYI: Ice can also help alleviate the “throbbing” types of headaches that generally aren’t caused from muscle spasms. Heat works better for headaches caused from long-standing muscle spasms.
How do I use ICE, properly?
Get a properly designed re-useable ICE pack and wrap it in a thin or light towel, you can wet the towel slightly to make it colder. DO NOT PUT THE ICE PACK DIRECTLY ON THE SKIN! Apply the ice pack on the injured or affected area for about 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours for as long as needed. Move the ice pack around the area during that time.
‘So what about HEAT for injuries?’
HEAT therapy normally works best on chronic (long-standing) injuries, including arthritis pain and chronic back pain, and pain. Do not use HEAT during the inflammation stage (acute or icing stage), as it can cause added inflammation and hinder the recovery process. The easiest way to check is using the general rule “If it is HOT and SORE use ICE, but if it is just SORE try HEAT” Headaches that come from muscle spasms in the neck or scalp may respond bet to HEAT packs (but not super hot).
‘How do I use HEAT properly?’
Use a proper HEAT pack and protect your skin the same as when using ICE. You can also dampen a towel with hot water and use that instead as a place to start. A hot bath may be helpful, but be careful of the temperature and make sure you are able to get out, and have help if needed. Once again, don’t use it for more than 20-minutes and don’t reapply the heat until the spot has had a chance to completely cool.
For more help and advice on assessing injuries, including how to rehabilitate your injured area to recover quickly give us a call for an assessment with our team. We have plenty of options for you to choose from including Chiropractic – Massage – and more! Our team of Chiropractor Gold Coast are happy to assist you!