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Heat or Ice- Which one is best for my pain?!

When it comes to experiencing pain from either a new injury or a problem that has been ongoing for years, our first question is always "how can I relieve this pain?" Both heat and ice have their own benefits to relieving pain at home. One of our most frequently asked questions here in the clinic is when to use which one. The typical "rule of thumb" when it comes to choosing between heat and ice is dependent on when the injury happened and whether it is acute or chronic.

Ice is typically used for more acute, or recent injuries. The 72 hours following an injury can result in the area to be inflamed and painful. Ice helps to reduce inflammation, which then reduces pain symptoms. It is important to make sure you aren't icing for more than 20 mins at a time and keeping a barrier between your skin and the ice so that the skin doesn't get irritated.

Heat is typically used for more chronic pain or muscle/joint stiffness. Heat actually has the opposite effect of ice, it causes small blood vessels to open which can stimulate inflammation rather than relieve it. When you are experiencing chronic conditions, heat improves circulation and blood flow which can help reduce stress and tension while healing damaged tissue in the area.

Both ice and heat should be used in any rehabilitation program. Neither of these methods work as effectively on their own and are meant to both be used in different parts of the healing process. Although heat and ice are effective in reducing symptoms temporarily, it is important to note that if you are injured or dealing with a new or ongoing pain that you get checked out by professionals to get you long lasting help.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to our office at (952)-500-8477!

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Wednesday, 08 December 2021

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