30 Jan 2013
January 30, 2013

Heat or Ice

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When to use Ice or Heat?

This is a very common question patients ask all the time. The easiest way to remember is:
Use ice for injuries and use heat for muscles.

Ice is a painless, drug free way of settling down inflamed, hot and swollen tissues. It is not a form of treatment, it is working as a pain killer.

Heat is used for reducing the pain associated with muscle spasm and trigger points.

Muscle Strain
– Hamstring
– Quadricep
– Groin
Ligament Sprain
– Rolled Ankle
– Twisted Knee
– Finger Sprain
– Corky

Muscle Spasm
– Lower Back Spasm
Tight Muscles
– Tight Neck
– Tight Lower Back
–  Upper Neck Tension

What if you use ice or heat incorrectly?

Apply ice to something that needs heat:
For example, chances are the muscle spasm in your lower back will cause the muscle to tighten even more, causing more pain and discomfort.

Apply heat to something that needs ice:
Inflammation significantly increases when heat is added. Heat will attract greater blood flow, thus increasing the amount of inflammation.

As a general rule with your lower back most of the time you are dealing with a muscle spasm rather than an injury. So you will usually require heat. If you are unsure consult your Mt Eliza Osteopath at Victoria Sports & Rehabilitation Clinic. We treat patients from all over the Mornington Peninsula, including Mt Eliza, Frankston, Mornington, Somerville, Mount Martha & Dromana.