Does My Injury Need Heat or Ice?

We are in the full swing of sports season! Injuries happen, and we are often left with the question, heat or ice?

If the injury is a sprain, strain or a bruise, choose ice!

The cold will restrict blood flow to the area slowing the inflammation. It aids in keeping swelling down and often keeping the bruising at a minimum. Icing can also prevent icing, pain and spasms.

Keep in mind that over-icing or placing the ice or cold pack directly on the skin could cause nerve and tissue damage. Be sure to place a barrier such as a towel between the ice pack and your skin and only ice for 15-20 minutes at a time and wait at least an hour between icing sessions. If you have cardiovascular or circulation issues, make sure you consult with a doctor before icing.

Now, heat comes in to play if you’re feeling achy and stiff.

The heat relaxes and opens the blood vessels, which causes the tissue around the blood vessels to then relax. If you’re using heat, only apply for 15-20 minutes at a time.

When shouldn’t you use heat? Heat shouldn’t be used if there is swelling or bruising, if there is an open wound or an active infection. Those who have heart disease or hypertension should consult a physician before applying heat.

As a general rule, ice should be used first when an injury occurs. Once the injury is no longer swollen and bruising has stopped, then you can switch to heat to help with stiffness.

In addition to icing and applying heat, it’s important to visit your chiropractor.

The body has full capability to heal itself, if it is functioning at its full capacity. The spine when misaligned can slow to body’s functioning. Basically, the area that is injured can’t communicate fully with the brain to let it know what it needs, and the brain then can’t signal the immune system to do its part in healing the injury. Your chiropractor can also give you other suggestions for healing, such as low-level laser or taping.

Chiropractic should be your first line of defense when it comes to combating injuries. Not only does chiropractic aid in the healing, it also helps prevent further injury and gets you back out on the field faster!

 We are committed to educating and inspiring individuals and families to cultivate health and healing throughout their lives.

Dr. Erik and Dr. Patricia


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