When to Heat or Ice an Ache

by / Monday, 16 June 2014 / Published in Health News

In pain management, two of the simplest treatments therapists use is ice therapy and heat therapy. Generally in forms of hot packs or cold packs.  The rule of thumb with cold is if an area is red, swollen, inflamed, or if it’s an acute injury, meaning an injury that just occurred, we want to cool the area down and prevent any inflammation.  Often a topical anti-inflammatory is put on the patient’s injured area.

Heat will generally be used to prepare a body part for exercise, to help activate the area. It helps in increasing blood flow or circulation, increasing tissue elasticity or flexibility, to accept the exercise or the stretching that the therapist will be doing to the area.  Heat or cold is used in conjuncture with exercise.  If a patient just worked out very hard in the gym with a therapist, use cold at the end, to help cool down or calm down the area so that way there’s no increased irritation or inflammation.  Use heat for its soothing effects before and after exercise.

Manhattan Wellness Group addresses pain management through chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage and acupuncture.