-- By Erica Sastre, LMT
This weeks Q & A was inspired by Game of Thrones! Lots of us are excited for the final season to begin. If you have dragons and sports medicine on your mind, read on.
Q: Should I use FIRE (heat) or ICE (cold) treatment?
A: Did you tweak a hamstring in the battle of Winterfell? Do you have neck pain after a long day of combing over old tombs in the Maester's library? Do you get headaches every time you Warg with your wolf? Read on and the choice will become clearer than a green dream.
Letâs start by taking a look how heat and cold affect the tissues in the body!
FIRE/Heat/Thermotherapy on the body will...
You have lots of options with heat,
Heat is best for... Chronic conditions, sore muscles, stiff joints, and overall relaxation.
ICE/Cold/Chryotherapy on the body will..
Therefore, ICE is best for acute (new) injuries such as twisting your ankle, strained muscles, or back spasms. You should also use ICE after an activity that aggravates a chronic injury. The goal is to reduce swelling and keep the injury from getting worse.
Tip from Dr Q:
"Don't waste your money on an ice pack. Buy a frozen bag of peas, which will serve a triple purpose. It is effective cryotherapy for your injury, it will also act as a timer (by the time the peas melt it will be time to stop your cryotherapy), and then you have a healthy snack afterwards!"
Within 24-48 hours of an injury, sprain, strain, or spasm, you will want to ice it. Apply cold no more than 15-20 minutes at a time to decrease swelling and inflammation to keep the injury from worsening. Wait 60 minutes between treatments.
After 24-48 hours, after the swelling has gone down post-injury or for chronic conditions, you will want to use heat. We recommend applying heat no more than 20 minutes at a time, and wait 60 minutes between treatments. Follow instructions for your hot pad or heating devices to keep a nice even temperature that will to increase circulation, tissue pliability, and cell metabolism for healing the injury over time.
Still in doubt? Go with ICE. Although heat has more therapeutic benefits, you can do more damage when applied in the wrong situation or instance. Therefore, there is more room for error with ICE. Be cautious, as you can burn yourself with either.
That is our secret, we can only be victorious in our health and wellness treatment plans if we use fire AND ice!
Have a great week! Send us your questions for next time to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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