I get asked quite often if a person should be using heat or ice on an injury. The answer to the question is determined by the specifics of what is going on. The single most important factor in determining whether to use either is if the injury is new (acute) or has it been present for some time (sub-acute or chronic). If it is more acute, ice is usually my general recommendation. If it is more sub-acute or chronic I go with heat. Either way, there are rules I tell people to follow when using heat or ice.
- Make sure it is wrapped in a towel or t-shirt. It should not be directly on your skin. Doing this will increase the risk of you injuring the tissue with excess heat or cold.
- Use it for 10-15 minutes at a time. This will prevent you from causing any kind of damage to the tissues as well.
- You can do it as much as you want but you need to make sure your skin gets back to normal temperature before you reapply. This may take you 2 minutes, 5 minutes or 10 minutes. It just depends on your circulation.
Currently there seems to be a lot of differing opinions and studies showing whether ice or heat is better for injuries. This bit of work here is my view and you are more than welcome to your own.
Christopher Foust, DC, DACBSP
Synergy Chiropractic, LLC 790 Lafayette Rd Ste 1 Medina, OH 44256