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Heat or Ice?

Heat or Ice?

Heat or Ice?

Heat

What does it do?

Heat therapy opens blood vessels, which increases blood flow, relaxes muscles and helps alleviate pain.

When to use it?

Heat is a great way to help loosen up stiff joints and tight muscles, it is also a good method of pain relief for tension headaches and other chronic conditions. Always wait 48-72 hours after an injury before considering heat therapy. When in doubt, use ice.

Safety Tips

  • Treat for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Do not lie on a hot pack to avoid falling asleep and potentially burning yourself.
  • Do not use heat if you have no feeling in the affected body part.
  • Never use heat is there is swelling or bruising.
  • Do not apply heat directly to the skin, use a thin towel.
  • Do not use heat if you have poor circulation, such as if you have diabetes.

Ice

What does it do?

Cold therapy slows down the blood flow to an injury, which reduces swelling, inflammation and pain.

When to use it?

Ice should be used right away after an injury or after activity that aggravates a chronic condition. Ice is good for migraine headaches, bumps, sprains and strains that may occur with sports, slips and fall or lifting. Cold therapy is also beneficial for minor burns by applying cold water from the faucet. When in doubt, use ice!

Safety Tips

  • Treat for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.
  • During treatment, check skin every 5 minutes to make sure there is no damage, such as freeze burn (skin would become reddened or blistered, just as when burned with heat).
  • Do not place ice or packs directly on the skin, use a thin towel.
  • Wait 1 hour between cold treatments.

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