Its an age-old question after an injury…should I apply heat or ice? Here I will offer insight into the benefits and drawbacks of each therapy.
The traditional approach for applying ice is immediately after the injury has occurred, or right after the area has been stressed to reduce any potential swelling. The reason for this is that when your boy reognizes the freezing temperature on the skin, it constricts blood vessels in the area, which reduces blood flow and thus the inflammatory response. Ice will also temporarily numb the nerve endings, offering pain relief for a short period of time.
Conversely, heat has long been considered the go-to for injuries or ailments that are chronic, including arthritic conditions and persistent tension headaches. Applying heat will increase the blood flow to the region and, along with it, bring in nutrients for healing while removing the by-products of the inflammatory response.
Applying Heat and Ice
A bag of frozen peas or crushed ice that can mold around the injury site is the recommended way to apply ice. 10-20 minutes should be enough time to feel the effects of ice without risking overexposure to cold. Similarly, applying heat for 10-30 minutes, depending on the heat source, is ideal. Moist hot packs, heating pads and warm baths are all very popular forms of heat therapy. Whether it’s hot or cold therapy, make sure you take at least 15-20 minute breaks in between to allow the temperature of the area to return back to normal. Remove the therapies if they become uncomfortable or increase the pain, and do not apply ice directly over the skin, wrap it in a thin layer instead.
Advanced Heat and Ice Options
At Cryotherapy Indy, we offer the latest in extreme temperature therapies. Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) goes beyond traditional ice packs in that it offers systemic changes whereby your body’s natural ability to recover is kickstarted. The systemic changes that your body undergoes during the session improves and expedites overall recovery. With Infrared Sauna, infrared rays penetrate deep into your body allowing you to improve circulation, regenerate cells and enhance recovery.
Combined with the therapies offered by our highly-trained doctors, patients see incredible results in their ability to heal from injuries and recover faster and more effectively. If you or someone you know is having trouble with their recovery, give us a call at 317-449-2020.
Content provided by Dr. Drew Hunt