Ice Or Heat For An Injury

heat-therapy

Heat

What does it do?
Heat will help open the blood vessels which will increase blood flow and relax muscles which helps alleviate pain.

When should I heat?
Heat is good for chronic conditions or muscle spasms as it will help loosen up stiff joints and tight muscles. Do NOT heat after an immediately after an injury or if there is swelling or bruising.

How long should I heat for?
20 minutes. Make sure you don’t fall asleep with a heat pad as you may burn yourself.

icing-injury

Ice

What does it do?
Ice slows down blood flow to the area which will help reduce inflammation, swelling and pain.

When should I use it?
Ice is used right after an injury or after an activity that aggravates chronic pain.  Ice can also be used to help alleviate pain from migraine headaches.

How long should you ice for?
No longer than 20 minutes.  Excessive ice can do harm to the nerves.

When do I switch from Ice to Heat?

After about 3 days of icing, begin to heat the area.  Initially, ice is the best option because it slows down the blood flow and helps with pain and swelling, but eventually you will want to introduce heat because that same blood flow will bring the essential nutrients to the injury to help it heal.

How long should I heat?  
The same, about 20 minutes.

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