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Ice vs Heat


Heat and Ice?

This is always a topic that leaves people confused. When should I use Ice? And when should I use heat?

Hopefully this blog will answer your questions!

Ice treatment is most commonly used for acute injuries!

  • If you have had a recent injury (within the last 48 hours) where you can see swelling and the area could be hot to touch, you should be using ice.

  • Ice packs can help minimize swelling around the injury, reduce bleeding into the tissues, and reduce muscle spasm and pain.

  • Ice packs are often used after injuries like ankle sprains have occurred.

  • Applying an ice pack early and often for the first 48 hours will help minimize swelling, and decreasing swelling around an injury will help to control the pain.

  • Ice treatments may also be used for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries in athletes. In this case, ice the injured area after activity to help control inflammation. Never ice a chronic injury before activity.

  • Only ice for 10 minutes at a time and never put ice directly onto the skin. Please make sure you use a towel to avoid ice burns.

Ice is great for a lot of injuries, but what about heat? There are some situations in which heat beats cold.

  • Heat treatments should be used for chronic conditions to help relax and loosen tissues and to stimulate blood flow to the area.

  • Use heat treatments for conditions such as overuse injuries before participating in activities.

  • DO NOT use heat treatments after activity or use heat after an acute injury.

  • NEVER use heat where swelling is involved because swelling is caused by bleeding in the tissue, and heat just draws more blood to the area.

  • Heating tissues can be accomplished using a heating pad, or even a hot water bottle

  • When using heat treatments, be very careful to use a moderate heat for a limited time to avoid burns. Never leave heating pads or towels on for extended periods of time or while sleeping.

Both heat and ice have their place in training. Know how each one affects injuries and you will be able to make the right therapeutic choice for yourself. Some situations may be more complicated, and if you aren’t sure what to do, follow the advice of a doctor or you can contact me on 07515109803.


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© 2020 by Cydney Newman Sport and Remedial Soft Tissue Therapist