The great heat vs. ice debate has been going on for a LONG...LONG...TIME.
So, what’s the deal?
Generally, you should use ice for injuries that just happened. Use heat for muscles, stress and pain that you’ve had for awhile.
Ice for things like: sprains, tweaks, pulls, bruising-things that are painful, hot and swollen. Ice is a great way to help you get through the inflammatory process.
Use heat for things like painful, sore and stiff muscles. Use heat for chronic pain. It might help with anxiety, stress and sensitization.
What about that contrast thing???
Contrast is when you alternate hot with cold. Some health professionals think it helps to increase blood flow and promote healing but there’s very little research that backs that up.
When you just shouldn’t use either…
DON’T add heat to an inflammation situation, like a fresh injury.
DON’T add ice to a chronic situation, like a sore neck or trigger point that that you’ve had for awhile.
Do whatever you think is best, keeping in mind the “freshness” of the injury. Ice is generally good for the first 48-72 hours post injury, then heat after that. You know yourself best, so do what’s best for you!
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