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Should You Use Heat or Ice?

By Sara Butler

You can count on chiropractic care from The Joint Chiropractic to help with your treatment after an injury, but what do you do immediately after you hurt yourself? Most people automatically reach for an ice pack after an injury occurs while some think a heating pad or a nice warm soak is the answer. Which if these are correct? That depends on your injury.

Here's what the chiropractors at The Joint want you to know about what you should do after you get hurt and when to use ice or heat to best help your body heal.

Using Ice

Ice is the best choice when trying to combat inflammation from injuries. That's because the cold temperatures help to reduce inflammation by restricting blood flow to the other, as it works to control swelling, too. Strains, bruising, and sprains all should have ice applied to them in the immediate aftermath of the injury.

You can use ice in a couple of ways to treat an injury. These are:

  • Immediate - Right after the injury, applying ice will help keep the area from becoming too stiff by reducing the swelling and the amount of fluid builds up in the injured area
  • Rehabilitation - The chiropractor may instruct you to keep applying ice to an injury to help reduce muscle spasms and increase mobility

If you suffer from circulatory issues or cardiovascular disease, then it's a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional before using ice to treat an injury. You may need to be careful about how long you apply ice or you might need to avoid it at all.

Using Heat

Heat is what you want to use to encourage relaxation. Heat opens up blood vessels to help increase blood flow to an area that has been injured. Heat is useful for injuries such as aches and pains, as well as helping to repair damage to tissues after the initial stage of an injury. Heat is also great for muscle stiffness and tension.

When you apply heat to an injured area, make sure to keep it to under 20 minutes per session so you don't burn or damage your skin. Also, it's not for use with open wounds or an area that still has bruising or swelling. Anyone with heart disease or hypertension, then talk to a healthcare professional before using heat as a treatment for an injury.

If you have any questions about heat or ice, then talk to the chiropractors at The Joint.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Aurora, Colo.

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