Heat or Ice?
Many people get confused on whether to use heat or ice after an injury. The following will try to help explain when to use heat and when to use ice.
Ice is to be use after any type of an injury. The AMA guidelines state that you should use ice for at least 72 hours following an injury. Most people think that putting heat on feels better but it will only cause the problems associated with the injury to worsen. Although heat may help to loosen up tight muscles after an injury it will also cause an increase in inflammation which will only worsen your pain.
Ice may not feel as good as heat after being injured but it will help push inflammation from the area. When you are injured it is important to stop the Inflammatory Cycle. Ice will stop the inflammation while heat will increase it. Always remember RICE after and injury, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. All four of these techniques are applied for one purpose, decrease the inflammation.
Heat is only good after the inflammation has been relieved. Heat will help the soft tissue ( muscles tendons and ligaments) to relax. Heat is effective in treating chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia. However, if there is any suspicion that inflammation exists do not use heat. It will only aggravate your condition