Should I Use Heat or Ice After An Injury?

One of the most common questions we get asked in the practice is “I don’t know when I should be using heat or ice for my injury”

Let us help you out!

When dealing with an injury, it’s important to know when to use heat and when to use ice to manage pain and inflammation.

The main difference between heat and ice therapy is that heat increases blood flow, while ice reduces blood flow.

Here’s a closer look at the benefits of each:

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy is best for chronic injuries or pain. Applying heat to the affected area increases blood flow which can help to relax tight muscles, ease stiffness, and promote healing.

Heat therapy is particularly effective for muscle strains, joint stiffness and arthritis.

It’s important to note that heat should not be used immediately after an injury, as it can increase swelling and inflammation (possibly making the swelling worse!)

Ice Therapy

Ice therapy is best for acute injuries such as sprains, strains and bruises. Applying ice to the affected area reduces blood flow which can help to reduce swelling, inflammation and pain.

Ice therapy is particularly effective in the first 24-48 hours after injury. After this initial period, heat therapy can be used to promote healing and reduce stiffness.

It is important that both heat and ice therapy should be used with caution and for limited periods of time. Overuse of either therapy can lead to tissue damage, so it’s important to follow the recommended guidelines for application. Your physio will guide you with your exact plan depending on your injury/condition during your treatment session.

Overall, both heat and ice therapy are useful tools in their own way for managing pain and inflammation after an injury!

I hope this post has been helpful!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via telephone or email

Post by Holly Watkins

B. Physio

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