Should you use ice or heat to help with pain?
One of the most important things that healthy active individuals need to know is the proper use of ice and heat when dealing with sports injuries – or simply to help elevate pain. I thought it would be beneficial to explain the difference so that when in need you will choose the right one.
The first things you need to be aware of are the two types of pain you can experience.
This is a type of pain that begins suddenly – often after an injury. There are several ways this pain can be described as sharp, throbbing, or even mild (depending on severity of injury). This type of pain can either start immediately after, or take up to 24 hours to set in.
Much like the name this type of pain develops slowly and can last for a much londer time. Sometimes this type of pain lasts week, it can last months, and in some cases it even lasts for years. The difference with chronic pain is that it does not go away – and feels like an aching or burning sensation.
So now that you know the difference between the two types of pain we can move into proper treatment.
How/When to Use Ice:
– use immediately after an acute injury (slip, fall, collision)
– place ice in towel and hold on injured area in 10 minute shifts
– numbness is normal, and should subside within 30 minutes
– ice can be used several times a day, but do not exceed 6
– remember to allow time for your skin to recover after each icing session
How/When to Use Heat:
– use heat for soreness, stiffness of joint/muscle pain
– place heat source in cloth (to provide layer for skin) and hold on area for 15-20 minutes
– moist heat is recommended when possible
– do not lay on heat source or sleep with a heating pad
How a Physical Therapist Can Help
If you are, or have been, experiencing chronic pain – or have suffered a sports injury then we can help you. It is time for you to visit a physical therapist if you have had pain for more than 2 weeks, and it is not getting any better. In this case we can help you decrease the pain you are experiencing, as well as work with you to rehabilitate the injury.
The road to recovery and pain-free living starts today, so give us a call to set up an appointment. We can be reached at 201-585-7300, or you can also fill out our contact form online.