Fire and Ice

If you workout or have played fun sports, you are most likely familiar with icing an injury. While ice is the standard protocol for some injuries, you are probably also common with using heat to ease tense muscles. So when should you be using a cold compress and when must you be using heat? The following article is a basic guide to help you treat your injury effectively.Pain after an injury or overuse of an area of your body is mostly a result of swelling or inflammation of the affected tissue whether it is bone, muscle, ligament or tendon.

This inflammation causes stress on the adjacent sensory nerves which convey information to the brain therefore causing the sensation or feeling of pain. Inflammation also reflexively leads to the soft cells of the affected area to “tighten up” or turn out to be contracted adding to the pressure on these sensory nerves. That is the one of the factors, muscles tend to tighten up and stay tight for an extended period of time after the initial injury or excessive activity. After an injury it is suggested to ice 8-10 minutes per application up to 4-6 times per day until the acute inflammation has subsided and there is no pain with movement of that area. This approach stays in effect as long a there is pain. This is the key element.

The use of ice, just like heat while on a sore muscle mass is reliant upon the stage of the injury. A muscle tissue pain differs and is not created equal. So as to make use of ice you should apply it correctly. Stay away from adding ice directly on your skin layer, rather, wrap the certain ice or ice pack inside a hefty bath towel or even plastic material bag and after that apply.

Chill the injured area for 15 -30 minutes, or right up until the area gets numb (exposing skin to cold for longer than 20 minutes may damage epidermis as well as the sensitivity of the nerves). You could use a timer, and then take it off. As soon as the area gets numb, that is when you know that the healing and therapeutic benefits are taking its impact. The cold ice helps to slow down the blood flow and can also reduce any soreness that happens.

More often than not chronic pain is greatest treated with heat therapy. Chronic injuries have little to no associated inflammation, but rather are characterized by tight, sore muscles. Heat will loosen up stiff muscles and lower spasms. Athletes are encouraged to heat muscles for 15 to 20 minutes before (rather than after) exercising as it can “warm up” the muscle and decrease the likelihood of further injury.

Moist heat therapy is the most beneficial as the moisture penetrates the muscle more deeply. As with cold therapy, never leave a heating device on your body for prolonged periods of time as this may lead to additional injury. Generally 15 to 20 minutes is sufficient, even though longer periods could be suitable.

Be cautious, heat application boosts the blood flow to the affected area and tends to increase existing inflammation. Heat application is one of the most typical errors in treating inflammation and results in prolonged disability and pain. Applying heat to a body part that is still inflamed will enhance the longevity of symptoms arising from the injury specifically pain and stiffness. It is consequently not recommended for acute injuries or injuries that show any signs of pain and inflammation.

Although heat and ice therapy are important therapies to use during muscle recovery it is essential to understand that there are usually further underlying issues that heat and ice can not heal. Heat and ice should be used in conjunction with other alternative modalities such as massage therapy, electric muscle stimulation, ultrasound, chiropractic care, spinal decompression and physical therapy. Nonetheless, heat and ice should be used at the first sign of any pain to minimize your symptoms.

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