It is not uncommon for adults to come by minor bruises and scrapes. Banging your head on the car door can leave a lasting effect and so can twisting an ankle over a ladder. Whether it is a bruised foot, swollen lip or sore back, there are many situations where we need to ask ourselves whether we require the aid of an Ice Pack or Hot Press.
Answers online vary and many websites indicate that the temperature of the compress is not a factor in healing. However, studies do show that depending on the injury, a hot or cold pack may be better. This article will go over the signs that you may need one or the other.
How Does Cooling An Injury Work?
Applying ice or a cold pack works by reducing blood flow and pain sensation to a particular area. Cooling an injured area, especially a tendon or joint, can reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain.
What Type Of Injuries Do I Use Ice Pack On?
Ice is meant to calm down damaged surface tissues that are inflamed, red, hot and swollen. Think of icing as a way to simply dull the pain, and reduce inflammation, nothing more or nothing less. Ice therapy is most beneficial in the first 24-72 hours of sustaining an injury.
After you’ve sustained your injury, you should aim to apply ice to the inflamed area as soon as possible.
Use cold therapy for short periods of time, several times a day.Don’t treat an area with an ice pack for too long! Ten to fifteen minutes is fine, but no more than 20 minutes of cold therapy should be used at a time.
Also, don’t cool an area to the point where you are shivering. If you are already shivering, you should discontinue applying ice until you warm up. The brain interprets an excess of cold as a threat and when the brain thinks there’s something wrong going on it may actually amp up your area of pain as a defense mechanism.
How to apply cooling therapy
Before you apply ice or a cooling pack to the injured area, always make sure there is some sort of barrier between the ice and your skin. Whether it be a Ziploc bag or a washcloth, it’s imperative that the barrier exists. Applying ice directly on the skin can cause damage to the skin and tissues.
How Does Heating An injury Work?
Heat therapy works by improving circulation and blood flow to a particular area. Heating an affected area can soothe discomfort, increase muscle flexibility and help heal damaged tissue.
What Type Of Injuries Do I Use A Hot Press On?
Heat therapy is most effective for sore muscles, chronic pain and repetitive stress injuries. A comfortable, not scalding, heat can take the edge off symptoms like muscle aching and stiffness. Heat can be most beneficial 36-72 hours after the injury is sustained.
How to apply heat therapy
When applying heat therapy to a small, afflicted area you could use small heated gel packs or a hot water bottle.
There are certain cases where heat therapy should not be used. If the area is bruised or swollen, it may be better to use an ice pack. Heat therapy also shouldn’t be applied to an area with an open wound.
Heat therapy, unlike cold therapy, is most beneficial when used for long periods of time.
Minor stiffness can benefit with only 15 to 20 minutes of heat therapy. Moderate to severe pain can benefit from longer sessions of heat therapy lasting between 30 minutes and two hours.
When to see a chiropractor
Regardless of your injury, you may have already tried the hot and cold press! If you have not seen any results or ease in pain, it may be time to contact your chiropractor! At AvenidaWellness, we are always concerned about the health of our patients. If you are still in pain after repeated applications, if you experience stiffness or pain related to sport or active living, please give us a call for a free consultation at 403-271-6611.