• When do you use heat and when do you use ice?

    by Dr. Steve Perry D.C.
    on Aug 8th, 2018

When do you use heat and when do you use ice to treat an injury such as headaches, neck pain, foot pain, shoulder pain, low back pain, knee pain, ankle pain or foot pain?

Dr. Steven Perry, Chiropractor is located Tarzana, CA and has been in practice for over 33 years.  He loves to educate his patients on home care.

Heat: Increases the blood flow, reduces muscle spasm and decreases stiffness.  Always use moist heat as it is less inflammatory than dry heat. Examples of moist heat are a hot shower, Jacuzzi or a specialized heating pad that uses a moist insert / sponge.  Don’t place heat directly on the skin. When exercising, the muscle has waste products, one of which is lactic acid which can make the muscle painful and sore. Stretching after your workout and applying moist heat will increase blood supply.

Ice / cold: Numbs the affected area reducing pain, swelling and inflammation. Reduces blood flow and bleeding.

The rule is never use heat or ice more than 20 minutes at a time.  If in doubt, use ice. Experts recommend not using heat the first 48 hours especially if there is bruising, bleeding or swelling.  But if you do use moist heat in the initial 48 hours always end with application of ice.

Ice with compression reduces inflammation better than over the counter medication.  We sell an amazing ice wrap that is like an ace wrap which is cold.

R.I.C.E. RULE for sprain / strain:

REST: Protect the sore injured area. You wouldn’t run a marathon on a sprained ankle. Take a break, stop or modify the activity that caused or is causing the injury.

ICE: Reduce pain and swelling.

COMPRESSION: An elastic bandage (ace wrap) will help decrease swelling.

ELEVATION: Elevate the injured area above the heart. When lying down or sitting applying ice and elastic compression bandage.

If you have questions in regards to your injury whether it is headaches, neck pain, foot pain, shoulder pain, low back pain, knee pain, ankle pain or foot pain, please call my office at (818)881-2225 to set up an appointment.

Author Dr. Steve Perry D.C.

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