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When to Choose Heat or Cold

When to Choose Heat or Cold

Have you ever wondered whether you should choose heat or cold to help relieve your pain? That is a great question that we are frequently asked by our patients at Synergy Chiropractic and Wellness Clinic; therefore, we decided it would be beneficial to write a short blog on the subject.

Always apply COLD to an acute injury, since these injuries are typically sudden and may be accompanied by sharp pain. HEAT can play a key role in relieving pain and discomfort for chronic conditions such as arthritis and also sore muscles when it has been several days after an injury. In addition, it is especially good to ice following a car accident, work or sports injury.

Using COLD may help:

  • Reduce swelling or inflammation and muscle spasms
  • Alleviate headaches
  • Soothe muscles after sports and workouts

Using HEAT may help:

  • Relax muscles and provide comfort
  • Soothe arthritis pain and aching joints
  • Relax tight back muscles

Another good rule of thumb is to apply ice for up to 20 minutes every 3-4 hours immediately following an injury. Continue this for up to 48 hours after an injury.

For a lower extremity injury, try to stay off your feet as much as possible for 72 hours, as well as keeping the injured body part elevated above your heart if possible. This can be accomplished in a reclining chair or lying in a bed with pillows to help prop up your leg.

Knowing when to chose hot or cold is important for your overall pain relief and the bodies healing process. If you have any further questions please call the main office.