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    Sell Chiropractic

    Heat or ice: Which is better for your pain?

    Have you ever found yourself with an ache or pain wondering, “Should I apply heat or ice?”

    Here we’ll explain which situations call for heat and which call for ice, as well as what to do if neither is helping.

    First off, a general rule of thumb is to use ice for recent, acute injuries that are less than 6 weeks old and heat for long-term injuries that have been persisting for over 6 weeks. The reason is ice constricts blood vessels, numbing pain and reducing inflammation, which is what you need for a new injury.

    Heat, on the other hand, increases blood flow to relax tight muscles and aching joints. Heat can increase inflammation in certain injuries, so give us a call if you are unsure which to use for your particular injury.

    Heat is often best for:

    • *Arthritis;
    • *Headaches caused by neck spasms;
    • *Muscle spasms;
    • *Tendinosis;
    • *Relieving stiffness of strains and sprains after inflammation has resolved.

    Ice is best for:

    • *New injuries;
    • *Strains and sprains;
    • *Sports injuries;
    • *Throbbing headaches;
    • *Gout flare-ups;
    • *Tendinitis (commonly in the shoulder, elbow, knee, and wrist).
    Applying Heat and Ice

    A bag of frozen peas or corn makes a great ice pack that molds to the injured area. Conversely, a warm bath, heat wrap, or heating pad can be used for heat therapy.

    Apply heat or ice for 20 minutes at a time, taking a break of at least 20 minutes in between sessions. Remove the heat or ice if it becomes uncomfortable and do not apply ice directly to the skin, wrap it in a lightweight cloth or towel.

    When the Pain Isn’t Improving

    If at-home heat or ice therapy isn’t improving your condition, give us a call at 215-942-2626. We’ll get you in for a visit to see if we can help. Visit www.sellchiro.com for more information.

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