Heat or Ice for Pain? Find out what works best to ease your pain and help with healing.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Everyone gets a bump or bruise occasionally, sore muscles, or the unfortunate twisted ankle. The next question is what do you do about it? Do you run to the freezer for an ice pack or pull out the heating pad? This great debate has gone on for years, and most people have their own theories about what the best remedy is for pain relief. There is however, a few rules to go by that will help ease your pain and do what's right for your body to aide in your recovery.

Grab an ice pack- Best for immediate treatment of acute pain or new or sudden injuries, ICE will help to reduce swelling caused by inflammation and pain. If you apply heat to acute injuries, it can actually increase inflammation and may even delay the healing process.

When to heat things up-For chronic pain or injuries that you've had for over a day, HEAT is the best choice. HEAT can help with stiff joints and muscle relaxation.

Sometimes both is best- When you injure a muscle, it usually helps to use a combination of ICE and HEAT. Begin with ice for the first few days which helps decrease inflammation, and then you can switch to heat to relieve soreness. For chronic muscle pain, it's best to ice immediately after a workout, heat is best prior to a workout to help relax the muscles and joints.

If swelling or pain does not begin to resolve in several days, contact your doctor or visit Mid America Rehab for a complimentary screening.