Heat vs. Ice - Which Is More Effective for Injuries?
Injuries are part of life. Whether you’re playing sports, working out, or just taking a walk around the block, you’re always a chance to twist an ankle, pull a muscle, or worse. Regarding treating injuries, there are two primary schools of thought. They both amount to heat or ice, which is more effective in treating an injury. Our chiropractor at Nathan Browne DC in Dunwoody, GA, is here to break it down.
When Ice Is the Better Option
Ice therapy can help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling from injuries. It’s often the best choice immediately after an injury, as it can help prevent further damage. However, ice treatment should not be used on open wounds.
Ice therapy is not recommended if you have Raynaud’s disease or another condition that causes sensitivity to cold. As with heat treatment, always consult our chiropractor or another medical professional before ice therapy.
When you reduce the swelling, you also reduce the inflammation. Ice does this by numbing the area and reducing nerve activity. This numbing helps reduce pain signals sent to the brain.
Decreases Bleeding and Swelling
Ice constricts blood vessels, which reduces bleeding and promotes swelling relief. This reduction is significant immediately following an injury to prevent further damage.
The numbing effect of ice also helps relieve pain. However, numbing the area makes the signals sent to the brain less effective. As a result, you experience less pain in the affected area.
When to Choose Heat Treatment
There are several conditions that heat therapy can help improve. For example, heat may be a good option for dealing with muscle pain, stiffness, or spasms. It can also help reduce inflammation and promote swelling relief from injuries.
Heat treatment should not be used on open wounds or if you have a fever. You should also avoid heat therapy if your skin is sensitive or broken. If you’re unsure whether heat treatment is proper for you, always consult with a chiropractor or other medical professional first.
Promotes Muscle Stiffness Relief
The heat helps loosen and relax muscles, which can relieve stiffness. This relief increases blood flow to the area and helps break up knots, eliminating muscle pain.
Heat speeds up recovery if used in tandem with a cool compress. In addition, the increased blood flow to the site helps deliver oxygen and nutrients that can promote healing.
Schedule an Appointment with Us Today
Whether you choose to heat or ice, it’s essential to consult with a chiropractor or other medical professional first. They can help you determine which treatment is best for your specific injury. Contact Nathan Browne DC in Dunwoody, GA, today for more information about heat vs. ice therapy.