A lot of my patients ask me….”which is better, heat or ice”?
Well, this is a tricky question because it all depends on what kind of pain you are treating. A simple plan to remember is that Ice is for injuries, calming down damaged, superficial tissues that are inflamed, red, hot and swollen. Ice works for injuries because it narrows you blood vessels, preventing blood from accumulating in the area and helping to relieve swelling and inflammation.
Heat is for muscles, chronic pain and stress. Taking the edge off symptoms like muscle aching and stiffness. For instance, a chronic back pain involves a lot of tension, anxiety and sensitization….comfortable heat can sooth the muscles and nervous system. Applying a heat pack will help bring blood flow to the area which promotes healing and soothes pain.
That is the simplest and quickest answer that I can give, but, if you have any further questions just give me a call at our office (518) 326-9272. I am always available to answer any questions you may have.
~ Peter St.Germain, PT