The Great Debate

6158330_sSometimes our patients inquire about when it is optimal to use ice or when it is optimal to use heat to relieve pain from an area of the body. Using ice or heat is an easy, inexpensive way to reduce pain in the comfort of your home, but the wrong one can actually cause greater injury, so this is definitely a great question! Further, being that Family Chiropractic & Wellness is a drug-free, hands-on approach to healthcare (holistic), we believe that practices such as icing or heating, stretching, and other prescribed activity done at home is just as important as the work done in the office in order to achieve maximum results.

For new injuries or ones that have occurred in the past six weeks, ice is the way to go. Ice constricts blood vessels which numbs the pain, eases inflammation and controls the amount of bruising. Heat on the other hand increases blood flow which relaxes tight muscles and comforts aching joints; thus, it is great for injuries or arthritis that has been persistent more than 6 weeks. Using heat on acute injuries can be dangerous since it increases inflammation (which will increase pain) and can lag healing. Once inflammation is resolved, heat can be a great asset to pain relief and management.

At Family Chiropractic & Wellness, there is no debate with ice vs. heat. We use both to our patients advantage. Often we will use heat to loosen up the muscles before an adjustment for patients with chronic pain. But we almost always recommend icing within 24 hours after an adjustment to decrease any possible soreness. In fact, we even give our new patients a free ice pack to help them better meet this goal. We also suggest doing many of our take home exercises in the shower to allow the hot water to loosen muscle movement and ease pain during  slow, simple neck and back stretches.

Are you experiencing continuous or nagging pain? Call Family Chiropractic & Wellness today for an appointment to discuss a custom action plan for both in the office and at home to help you alleviate chronic pain and achieve your optimal health goals at 812-373-3376.