I often get asked the question "When should I apply heat or cold for pain/injuries?". It can sometimes be a tricky question for some to answer, and in some cases it can be a bit of both. Each case will need to be assessed.
However, as a general rule of thumb, use cold for acute injuries including any swelling or inflammation. The use of heat will help relieve pain and soothe the ache associated with any muscle pain or stiffness.
Without getting too technical, here is a brief run down on how it all works.
Cold Therapy aims to decrease the blood flow to a certain part of the body, this in turn can help reduce any swelling or inflammation. Cold therapy could be cold water, ice packs to name a few commonly used types.
Heat therapy helps to soothe any pain due to muscle pain or stiffness. The heat aims to improve circulation and blood flow from the increase in temperature. By doing this, will help soothe and relieve some of the associated muscle discomfort. Common types of heat therapy include heat packs, hot water bottles or even a steamed towel. Heat therapy should not be used on open wounds
As mentioned early on, the use case of heat/cold therapy noted above is a general rule of thumb, and each case may differ and require tailored treatments.
In any case that requires any heat or cold therapy, or if you are unsure, it is best that you get your condition assessed by your local practitioner.
From Maroubra Chiropractic & Health - Local Eastern Suburbs, Sydney Chiropractor also serving locals in the surrounding areas of Pagewood, Eastgardens, Kingsford, Matraville, Little Bay, Hillsdale, Malabar