Rules for Icing or Heating An Injury
There’s a general rule to keep in mind when deciding whether to use heat or ice for treating pain; you apply heat for any muscle pain or stiffness, and you use ice for inflammation, swelling, or acute injuries/ illness.
Heat Therapy For Injuries
By applying a heat pack or using a steamed towel on an injured area, you increase your body’s temperature in that area. When your body gets warmer, your blood vessels expand, and more blood circulates within the heated area. By increasing circulation, you can soothe any discomfort you’re experiencing or loosen your muscles. Your body’s healing response gets stimulated by higher temperature. So by adding heat, you can start healing any injured tissues. You should use heat therapy if any of your joints or muscles feel stiff if you are experiencing any sharp pain.
There are some cases where using heat therapy can harm more than help. Cold treatment is better suited for open wounds and bruised areas. People with diabetes, dermatitis, vascular diseases, multiple sclerosis or deep vein thrombosis are more susceptible to burning and should avoid heat therapy.
Cold Therapy For Injuries
Cold therapy works opposite of heat therapy. When you apply ice to a painful area, you decrease your bodies temperature in that area. As a result, your blood vessels tighten and blood flow to the area decreases. Cold therapy can be used to reduce any swelling or inflammation it can also numb your nerves temporarily. Using a cold towel over your forehead can reduce headaches as well. Avoid cold therapy if you have poor blood circulation.
Regardless of whether you are treating your pain with ice or heat, there is one thing to keep in mind. Ice and heat can only reduce pain; it cannot address the underlying cause for your pain. Be sure to consult a doctor if you suspect something to be wrong.
Schedule Your Appointment with Fort Worth Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist Dr. Michael Boothby today.
Fort Worth Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Michael Boothby is a highly respected member of the orthopedic community. Dr. Boothby is Board Certified and Medical Director of The Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute. Dr. Boothby has been named Top10MD 2018. Only 1 in 3 doctors succeed with this recognition in the United States. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Boothby link to his profile or call 817-529- 1900 today.