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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How to Make a Homemade Ice Pack

Seriously, ice is super important if you have just suffered an injury because the more quickly you apply an ice pack after an injury – hopefully within the first 5 minutes – the less overall tissue injury will occur.

Don’t get me wrong, if you tear your ACL and apply ice, it doesn’t mean that your ACL isn’t still torn. It just means that the ice application will limit the effects tissue damage in the tissues surrounding the ACL.

For example, if you don’t apply ice then you will have a lot more swelling and inflammation. That extra fluid will create pressure on the other tissues in the knee and possibly damage them. Applying ice helps to keep swelling and inflammation under control so that other tissues are as negatively impacted.

You can learn more from a recent Facebook Live Class I recorded. The video class will talk about:

  • What happens to the body when ice is applied
  • Why we want to apply ice
  • When not to use ice
  • How to make a homemade ice pack
  • ...
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DIY Series – How to Make an Ice Cup for Ice Massage

Ice massage?

Ever heard of it?

Isn’t massage supposed to bring warmth and relax me?

Ice massage is awesome!

No, it won’t bring you warmth but because ice can decrease muscle spasms, it might relax your muscles and decrease your pain caused by muscle spasm.

Ice massage is typically reserved for smaller areas so it’s not like having an ice pack cover a complete area.

The latest video in the DIY Series will talk about:

  • Using ice massage vs an ice pack
  • What happens to your body when ice massage is applied
  • Why we would want to apply ice massage
  • When NOT to use ice massage
  • How to make a homemade ice cup for ice massage

You can view the video here:

After watching the video, would you mind sharing it with others?

Ice massage is a great way to apply ice to small areas and it’s quick!

Stay Cool,

Dr. Jeanette

 

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