Ice Therapy Vs. Heat Therapy
Updated: May 28
How do I know when to apply ice to an injury versus heat? What’s the difference between the two? Does using one instead of the other actually matter? Misconceptions around hot and cold therapy have been around since what seems like the beginning of time. In simpler terms, Drs. Mark Freund and Nicole Gopaul recommend ice for fresh injuries while heat is better for more longer term chronic sore and stiff muscles and joints. The reality is much more complicated. Natural Care Chiropractic, located in Lindenhurst, IL, offers a detailed look into treatment.
Cold or Ice Therapy entails applying cold to the injured areas. It reduces inflammation and swollen tissue. Inflammation is a painful yet necessary part of the healing process. Icing reduces the resulting pain. It’s best used for more superficial injuries.
Heat Therapy is best for achy and stiff muscles. This can be due to chronic or muscle pain and stress. It’s great for a variety of symptoms, including lower back pain. The heat relaxes the muscles, increasing circulation and blood flow. It relieves pain and speeds up the healing process.
Using both cold or heat therapy is called contrasting therapy. Make sure to discuss this with your Lindenhurst chiropractors beforehand.
Never apply heat to inflamed tissue or ice to stiff muscles. It will have the opposite effect of its intended purpose. Don’t add heat to an already warm area or ice when you’re shivering. This will worsen your injuries.