So you’ve suffered an ankle sprain, pulled muscle, sore knee or shoulder, or a stiff joint due to arthritis. Now comes the dilemma: Do you use heat or ice to relieve the pain and begin the healing process? It’s a common question clients ask our physical therapist at The Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Center. Our expert staff has years of experience treating injuries of all types and knows which modality is most successful in each case. That’s why people of all ages have trusted us to provide best-in-class care, with a level of professionalism and attentiveness that starts the minute you walk through the doors of our fully equipped facility.
Heat is best applied when we need to increase the flow of blood to a muscle that’s stiff or sore. This not only has a relaxing and soothing effect, but also promotes healing. Heat can be applied either dry through heating pads, or wet by using steamed towels or cloths, hot baths and saunas, or moist heating pads. Don’t apply heat therapy to an area that’s bruised, swollen, or has an open wound, and don’t apply for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.
To address pain from an injury around a joint, tendon or nerve, we want to apply cold in order to slow the flow of blood, which reduces swelling. Ice bags, frozen gel packs, and coolant sprays can all deliver cold therapy to the affected area. Icing should be done at 15- to 20-minute intervals several times a day. Caution: Over-icing can be damaging.
At The Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Center we employ advanced pain relief techniques that deliver more effective, long-lasting results than can be achieved at home. Our hands-on approach to healing speeds recovery, allowing you to get back to activities you love, without the need for potentially harmful medications. If you have questions or would like to schedule an evaluation, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!