When Should I Use Ice and When Should I Use Heat?

This is one of the most common questions I am asked in my office.

Let’s break it down based on injury type and pain type.

Use ICE for the following:

  • Within the first 72 hours following injury
  • When visible swelling and inflammation are present
  • If pain is sharp, shooting, and/or has a deep ache
  • If you are experiencing pain at night that wakes you up because it is aches deep within your joint

Benefits of ice are:

  • Decrease pain
  • Decrease swelling and inflammation
  • Decrease secondary injury to surrounding tissues of the primary injured area

Use HEAT for the following:

  • After 72 hours if there is NO visible swelling or inflammation or redness present in the area
  • If pain is dull, achy, sore, or stiff
  • If you are experiencing pain at night that wakes you because it feels tight and sore

AVOID heat if:

  • Inflammation and swelling are visible
  • Redness is present
  • Possible infection or you have a visible open wound

Benefits of heat are:

  • Increase blood flow and...
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DIY Series – How to Use a Hot Pack

I rarely see skin burns from hot packs but on occasion I have had patients burn themselves because they did not know how to correctly apply a hot pack.

Skin burns can easily be prevented.

Heat from a hot pack is a great way to reduce general muscle soreness and joint or muscle tension. Heat can also be very relaxing.

In this next video of the DIY Series, you will learn:

  • What happens to your body when heat is applied
  • Why we would want to apply heat
  • When not to use heat
  • How to apply a microwaveable hot pack correctly and reduce your risk of skin burns significantly

Click play to see the video bellow:

I hope I never hear about someone burning themselves from a hot pack again. If you or someone you know uses a hot pack frequently, could you please forward this email to them?

Skin burns can be serious, and I don’t want anyone hurting themselves while trying to help themselves ease soreness and tension.

Enjoy the video and stay safe,

Dr. Jeanette

 

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