Should you do Ice Therapy or Heat Treatment after an Injury or Pain?
Is cold treatment or heat therapy better in helping to reduce pain? And how long should the ice or heat treatments last?
Both have its advantages, depending on type and stage of injury.
Learn how to tell whether to use ice packs and heating pads for injury or pain.
When to do Ice Treatment?
Ice treatment is often used for acute (recent) injuries, last 48 hours. If you have a recent injury with signs of inflammation (swelling, reddness, pain, limited movement, warm), you should be using ice treatment. Ice packs are commonly used after sport injuries such as an ankle sprain, knee pain.
What are benefits of Ice Treatment?
– Reduce swelling
– Decrease pain
– Allows for ease in movement
– Prevent pain or injuries becoming a chronic long term problem.
How long should you apply ice treatment?
Ice packs, applied for 10 to 20 minutes, can help minimize swelling around the injury. If pain is severe, cold treatment can be applied every 2-3hours interval.
Applying an ice pack early and often for the first 48 hours will help minimize swelling.
Ice treatments may also be used for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries in athletes. In this case, ice the injured area after activity. Never ice a chronic injury before activity.
When to do Heat Treatment?
Heat treatments should be used for chronic, long term persistent pain conditions, such as overuse injuries. Hotpacks are commonly used after long day work with tired aching muscles.
What are benefits of Heat Treatment?
– help relax and loosen tissues
– stimulate blood flow to the area
How long should you apply heat treatment?
Heating tissues can be accomplished using a heating pad, or even a hotpack, applied for 10 to 30 minutes. When using heat treatments, be very careful to use a moderate, comfortable heat. Otherwise, there is a risk of being scalded or burn.
Ice packs and heat pads are among the most commonly used treatments in physiotherapy. If you have tried hot pack or cold packs, and your pain still persist, you should see a physiotherapist to assess your condition to find out the exact cause of problem and physiotherapy treatments to solve your problem.