Pain Relief – Ice v. Heat

No matter what age one is, it seems that it is inevitable that everyone will experience some kind of pain for various reasons throughout their lives. The pain could be from an injury, overexertion, straining a muscle, spraining an ankle, knee or wrist or even just a bad bruise.

Whenever these things happen, many will advise us to use ice on our aches and pains while others will advise we put heat on it.

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Which is right?

Personally, depending on the injury or cause of the pain, I generally use ice for the first 24 hours to reduce internally bleeding (bruising) and swelling. After the first 24 hours, I use heat to promote blood flow and healing.

Am I right or wrong? What do you do?

According to a recent report:

try this web-site Sore from a workout? You don’t have to reach for pain relief medicine when ice or heat will help. But when should you go cold and when should you go warm?

Ice is the go-to therapy when an injury first happens. It can stop the swelling of a sprained ankle, for instance, and numb the pain. The traditional approach is 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off at first. You might step this down to 20 minutes every two or three hours on the second and third days. If you have a long-term injury, icing the area for 10 to 20 minutes after a workout can be soothing.

Ice options include a plastic bag of crushed ice, a reusable ice pack or even a bag of peas that can be refrozen for use again — label it so no one eats them. Whatever you use, always place a thin towel between the ice and your skin to prevent skin damage.

Once the swelling of an injury is gone, you can switch to heat. Heat eases discomfort and promotes healing. With a chronic condition like arthritis, it can soothe achy joints and lessen your pain. You can follow the same type of schedule you would when icing.

This makes lots of sense, especially if you follow sports at all. Quite often, some athletes, especially those in a physical contact type of sport, will take a soak in an ice bath after their game or event. Baseball pitchers will often wrap ice around their pitching arm after they are done.

However, it’s not as simple as just applying ice or heat. There are precautions that need to be followed, like using a towel or something between an ice bag and the skin. With heat, don’t just strap a heating pad to the injured area as that could easily result in a burn which will only complicate the healing process. Use a towel or some kind of buffer that will allow heat through while at the same time preventing the skin from burning.

There are a number of products out there that one can put in the microwave to heat up quickly but beware of heating them up too much. Sometimes excess heat can damage the product as well as burning the skin.

Like so many things, use common sense and don’t overdo the ice or heat. Start with the ice and then move to heat and you may be surprised at how much it helps you heal and get back to normal so you can go out and overdo and injure yourself again.


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