Ice or heat

Do I use ….”ice or heat” …I am referring to pain rather than the weather outside !

The decision is usually made on two factors: time after injury, and reason for use.

Acute injuries are usually treated with ICE – this is in the first couple of days – this does the following.

Reduce bleeding into the tissues.
Prevent or reduce swelling (inflammation).
Reduce muscle pain and spasm.
Reduce pain by numbing the area and by limiting the effects of swelling.
Do not apply for longer than 15mins and always protect your skin. This can be used hourly.

Chronic injuries are usually treated with HEAT. This is when an injury is a few weeks old and beyond. Inflammation should be under control by now, and pain has more to do with the nervous system, muscles (tightness, ‘trigger points’), and a lack of mobility. Heat can help with each of these things. Apply for 15-20mins and always protect your skin.

Almost never heat something that is swollen and hot… ask a professional first, it could be chronic inflammation or an infection.

Still abit confused! Not sure whether your injury is in the acute or chronic phase? Try alternating between 5 minutes of ice and 5 minutes of heat 3-5 times. Try to always start and finish using the ice.

If you are not sure please contact your doctor or your osteopath who will be happy to advise.

Happy holidays .

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