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Heat vs. Ice for Injury

Joint pain: heat or ice at Discover Chiropractic in Fremont

Joint pain: heat or ice?

The time following an injury is critical. If it’s not given the attention needed, more serious damage to the body can result. One question we often get from our patients is whether to use ice or heat on an injury. Knowing which is appropriate to use and when is vitally important to ensuring your body’s proper healing!

An Easy Rule of Thumb

If your injury has occurred in the last three days, ice is usually what’s best. Ice is appropriate for swelling, inflammation and joint pain. A great way to remember how to treat a new injury is by using the RICE acronym. This stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Treat the injured area with ice, use a bandage to compress the injury and elevate it to reduce swelling.

More Heat Equals Greater Blood Circulation

Heat is great for more chronic injuries such as muscle strains and stiffness. People often hop into a hot tub after an injury. It feels great at first, but a few hours later you’ll feel worse. Heat adds to the swelling of an injury, making your pain increase when a new injury has occurred.

Know What to Do

Let’s talk examples, so you know exactly what to do in times of injury. If you twist your ankle on the weekend playing soccer, that’s a new injury and a joint injury. Ice is best for both cases. If you’re at home and lift something heavy, resulting in back pain? Also a new injury, so stick to ice. If you’ve had low back pain for years and it hasn’t changed, then heat might be best.

Your Injury Experts

We also recommend anti-inflammatories for both old and new injuries. Two natural supplements that are great for inflammation are curcumin and turmeric. They’re easy on the body’s systems and can be bought at any natural health care store.

Remember, when you get a new injury, Discover Chiropractic is here for you. We’ll speed up your pain relief and make sure there’s no underlying damage you might need to see a specialist for.

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