How to Know When to Use Ice or Heat

Posted on March 13th, 2019 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

There are benefits to both ice or heat therapy in terms of treating injuries. Yet, which should you use? When we work out, play sports, or just live our daily lives, we intend to get better, get stronger, and become healthier. Still, accidents do happen, and we may end up injured. Naturally, you want to treat the injury as effectively as possible to improve the speed of healing.

Treating new injuries

Acute pain can truly put a dent in our daily routine. Many of us will want relief immediately. To be clear, acute pain and new injuries can describe a twisted ankle, pulled, muscles, or a twisted back. In this scenario, you will want to stick to ice/cold therapy via an ice pack, ice bath, or cooling gel pack which you can place in the freezer.

Why does ice work best for new injuries?

Well, ice can help to decrease both swelling and inflammation. And, with new injuries, you may find prominent swelling. Moreover, heat can increase inflammation with new injuries so proceed with caution when making your decision.

Healing old injuries and chronic pain

Now, many of us may also have chronic pain stemming from old injuries such as arthritis or perhaps a back injury. As a result, your mobility may be impaired. In this instance, heat therapy would be the best solution. Heat works well here since it helps to increase blood circulation and flow.

If you are experiencing tight muscle and joints, heat can also help to soothe these areas. You can use a heat pack, hot massaging tool, electric blanket, sauna, warm bath, and heat-inducing creams.

At Orthopaedic Specialty Group, we offer a wide variety of treatments to help our patients deal with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, sports injuries, and more. Contact us today to schedule your appointment (203) 337-2600!