When you’re suffering from an accident, injury, or illness, it can be hard to know which will help – ice or heat. The following information might help to clear things up.
Most people know that applying an ice pack or a heat pack can help to ease aches and pains, but there are cases where you can do more harm than good, or when one treatment may be more suitable than the other.
How do you know what will work? Before you head for the freezer or heat up the wheat bag to ease your aches and pains, ask yourself whether the pain is in your muscles or joints. Is it from an old injury? Does the pain relate to muscular tenderness or tightness?
If muscle tension is causing your pain, then heat can be effective for soothing stiff joints and relaxing muscles. It can also ease pain related to older injuries such as sprains and strains.
However, if you have a new sprain, acute pain, damaged skin or cancerous tumours, then heat is not a suitable option as applying heat can increase inflammation.
In the case of a new injury, ice can reduce any swelling or bleeding, and relieve pain. You may also find benefit in using ice for back pain, arthritis, and migraines.
If you’re not sure whether to reach for the bag of frozen peas or the wheat bag, then don’t worry. Have a chat with your chiropractor and find out which option is best to help alleviate your particular condition or injury.