After an injury or when dealing with pain many people wonder which is the better choice, heat or ice?
Ice constricts blood vessels, numbs pain, and limits inflammation and bruising. Ice should be used immediately following any acute injury including strains, sprains and tendonitis. To ice effectively place ice on injured area for 10 minutes, remove for 10 minutes then reapply for 10 minutes. You can repeat this process every hour as needed. Use a wet washcloth between ice and skin to prevent skin burns.
Heat increases blood flow which eases muscle tension and spasms and has a relaxing effect. Heat should be used for chronic pain, osteoarthritis or after an injury is out of the acute phase. Moist heat is most effective and can be placed on the painful area for 10 – 20 minutes at a time.