Heat vs. Ice

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One of the questions often asked is should I use heat or ice?  Often, patients want to use heat, but what their body really needs is ice.  Heat or ice should always be utilized before pain medications because they are non-invasive and will actually help promote healing, rather than just mask the pain.  How do you know the difference and how long should heat or ice therapy be used?  We’re here to help!

New injuries cause your body to create swelling and inflammation caused by increased blood flow to the injured area.  Ice decreases this amount of blood flow, thereby decreasing pain.  If you have swelling or bruising, ice will help eliminate some of the swelling and provide relief.  It’s best to use ice as soon as possible following an injury.  This will provide maximum benefits.

Old injuries need blood flow to heal  Heat can help muscles to relax and blood flow to provide nutrients to an injury so that it can heal.  Heat can also help increase range of motion.  Moist heat will penetrate further, increasing healing possibilities.  Some options are heating pad, hot water bottle, or gel packs.  Heat should stay at a constant temperature.  Ask Dr. Koester which heat source would be best for you.

Always be sure that heat or ice is not applied directly to skin, wrap in a cloth to prevent injury to skin.  Maintain a constant temperature and don’t use either therapy for more than 20 minutes.  Don’t fall asleep while using a hot or cold therapy and never lay on top of a heat or cold source.

See Dr. Koester first to determine which therapy would benefit you.  He can determine what is causing your injury and pain and prescribe the correct balance of therapies along with an adjustment to help you get back on tract to living your best life.  Call 615-851-3900 or visit www.longhollowchiro.com today!  Same day appointments are available!

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