When is it best to use ice or heat?

On May 11, 2012, in Therapy Methods, by Total Athleticare

 Many people get confused as to when to use ice and when to use heat. Here’s the common rule… ICE JOINTS, HEAT MUSCLES… ICE ACUTE, HEAT CHRONIC Here’s a chart that can help you better understand when, how, and how long to use either heat or ice: WHEN TO USE: Ice- Use ice after an […]

 Many people get confused as to when to use ice and when to use heat. Here’s the common rule…
ICE JOINTS, HEAT MUSCLES… ICE ACUTE, HEAT CHRONIC

Here’s a chart that can help you better understand
when, how, and how long to use either heat or ice:

WHEN TO USE:
Ice-
Use ice after an acute injury, like ankle or knee sprains or after activities that irritate a chronic injury like shin splints or sciatica.

Heat- Use heat before activities that irritate chronic injuries such as muscle strains. Heat can help loosen tissues and relax injured areas.

HOW TO USE IT:
Ice-
  Directly apply ice to an injured area or use an ice bath. Never use ice on an area with decreased circulation.

Heat-
Moist heat is best. Place a washcloth under hot tap water and then apply to the injured area.

FOR HOW LONG:
Ice-
15 minutes on, 45 minutes off. Repeat that cycle at least 3 times. Leaving it on longer doesn’t do any good.

Heat- 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off. Never fall asleep with heat on, you could burn your skin.

One common mistake people make is using a dry heating pad, do not do this!
Always use moist heat.

Please feel free to call us anytime at the office with questions at
847-706-9600.

 

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