Do you ice, or do you heat? Don’t know the difference between ice and heat after an injury or pain? You’ve come to right place!
Difference Between Ice and Heat
Have you ever found yourself in pain whether out of nowhere, after exercising or after a fall and not sure what to use whether ice or heat? Many of us HATE using ice because we are scared of the cold and just use heat. If you find yourself in that category, you might want to keep reading. Let’s look at the differences between them.
- Ice. reduces inflammation in that area. should only be applied for 20-30 minutes at a time, NO MORE THAN 30 minutes. Should be taken off area for same amount of time as applied then repeated. If no effect then move onto heat after 3-4 rounds of ice and rest.
- Heat. Relaxes muscles. Increases blood flow to area to increase inflammation. Heat can be applied as long as tolerable and as hot as tolerable. Moist heat (shower, hot tub) better than dry heat (heating pad).
- Inability to move. If you are experiencing this after a sports injury or time at the gym where something went wrong, try to ice it and see how the next few hours feel. Should nothing happen, then you might have something seriously wrong and you should call your doctor.
If you are unaware of the cause of your pain, ALWAYS start with ice. If the pain you are experiencing is from inflammation, heat will make worse. Remember, it’s better for nothing to happen than to get worse pain. When in doubt, start icing for a few rounds of 20 on/20 off and if nothing happens then transition to heat!
Your’s in Health
Dr. Alex Willard