Tips for using HEAT or ICE for pain – what works best for you!?!
Heat is used for helping:
- Improve circulation –
- Open up blood vessels,
- Decreasing muscle spasm, cramping and tightness,
- Alleviate pain and discomfort
When should I use heat?
- Heat is very good for chronic conditions and deep aching type pain such as
- Muscle spasm, cramping and tightness
- Disc injury/bulge/prolapse
- Lower Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Period Pain
- Heat helps reduce muscle tension and pain by increasing blood flow to the area and relax muscles that are in spasm. It also acts to remove lactic acid which is a toxin that causes the aching pain.
- Heat can be applied locally with wheat pack/hot water bottle or can be achieved by increasing body temperature with a hot bath or shower or sauna.
Safety Tips for use of heat:
- Take care that you protect yourself from direct contact to the skin with heating devices to avoid burns and to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Never use heat if you have no or minimal feeling in the affected body part
- Do not use heat if you have poor circulation
- Never use heat on an area that is swollen or bruised.
Cold therapy is used for helping:
- Slow down blood flow to an injured body part
- Decrease swelling,
- Decrease inflammation and pain to injured area
Ice is an effective and natural pain killer and anti-inflammatory as it numbs the area and decreases blood supply to the damaged tissue and can decrease localized swelling.
Cold therapy is good for:
- Sporting injuries which can include sprains, strains and bruises, or after slips and falls
- After minor burns apply cold running tap water for up to 20 minutes
When should I use cold/ice?
- Ice should be used in the acute or early stages of pain or injury to reduce swelling, inflammation and pain.
- If something is red, hot, swollen and tender, with a sharp quality to the pain, this is a good indicator of when ice should be used.
- Use ice in the first 24-36 hours of an injury, especially on your limbs!
- Ice should be used 10 minutes on and off alternating for the first 40 minutes and then approximately at 2 hour intervals
Safety Tips for use of ice:
- If using an ice pack, frozen peas or ice cubes, never place directly on the skin – always use a cloth between the ice and your body to prevent ice burn.
- Avoid using ice if you have circulation problems and don’t use for more than 20 minutes at a time
Categories: General Information