Should I use ice or heat to treat injuries?Experts say it depends on several factors

Should I use ice or heat to treat injuries?Experts say it depends on several factors



Whether you sprained your ankle and jumped off the curb or stiffened every day due to arthritis, the painful joints wake up and the pain will damage our physical and mental health.

Both ice and heat have pain-relieving properties, but pain management experts say they are used in different ways and cannot be used interchangeably.

Ice can reduce inflammation and bleeding, while reducing pain. Heat increases blood flow and relaxes tight muscles. Using the wrong equipment at the wrong time can aggravate the pain.

The acronym “Plain rice“Usually used to promote rest, icing, compression and elevation of skeletal muscle damage. It is usually recommended to apply heat through hot compresses to reduce chronic pain, but even certain conditions such as gout can better cope with icing or freezing. Research shows that cold compresses.

Under certain circumstances, Doctor OrthoCarolina said to use ice first and then heat it up Causes blood vessels to narrow and expand Can more effectively reduce inflammation. However, this is a more advanced treatment and should be discussed with your doctor first.

The cause and severity of the injury

Experts say that when choosing the right type of pain relief, it is also important to understand the cause of the injury and the severity of the injury.

If you are diagnosed with tendinitis, then the pain and inflammation of the tendon, such as Achilles tendon, ice, it is best to reduce the pressure and relieve the pain. However, if the tendon pain is caused by the deformation of the tendon, which is a chronic degeneration of the tendon, then once the inflammation is treated with ice, it is best to reduce the heat.

According to a recent study, the severity of muscle damage should also be considered. Researchers at Kobe University and Chiba Institute of Technology used mouse models to study how icing affects muscle regeneration. They found that in severe injuries from muscle tears, icing actually delays healing.

They explained this in their research and published in Journal of Applied Physiology, Low temperature will delay the arrival of pro-inflammatory macrophages, thereby clearing damaged tissues. By inhibiting the body’s natural inflammatory response to injury, ice can inhibit the body’s ability to repair itself.

“In sports, regardless of the severity of the injury, the slogan of immediately using ice on the injured area is commonplace. However, the mechanism we clarified through this study suggests that not giving severe muscle freezing may lead to faster recovery. .” Say Associate Professor Takamitsu Arakawa.

Previous studies have reported conflicting results about whether icing delays muscle regeneration. This latest study is the first to use injury models to mimic the mechanisms behind common sports injuries. Two days after the injury, apply ice on the top of the skin at least 3 times a day for 30 minutes, with an interval of 2 hours each time, to treat the torn muscle.

Two weeks after the injury, the frozen muscle has a higher proportion of smaller regenerated muscle fibers than the unice-treated muscle.

By studying the regeneration process, the researchers observed that ice makes it more difficult for pro-inflammatory macrophages to enter the injured muscle and clean up the damaged tissue to trigger the healing process.

Is it frozen or not?

Knowing which pain relief method is best for your particular situation can confuse you.To help you, experts Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins University with Carolina Some general rules to follow are proposed:

1. If the injury is serious or less than six weeks, be sure to choose ice cubes. Cold temperatures constrict blood vessels and numb the pain. It can also reduce inflammation and bruising.

2. For injuries that last more than six weeks, heat can help improve the range of motion of the injured joint. Warm temperature increases blood flow, relaxes tight muscles and relieves any soreness or pain. You can also use heat before stretching or exercising.

3. Arthritis destroys the cartilage of the joints and may cause very painful conditions. Rheumatologists say that the damp heat generated by soaking in a bathtub or showering with warm water can best alleviate this type of chronic pain. However, for gout attacks, ice is the best choice to reduce inflammation.

4. When it comes to headaches, the neurologist recommends using cold compresses on the forehead, and if the neck cramps, you can also use wet and hot compresses on the neck.

Regardless of whether you choose to use heat or ice to relieve pain, experts always recommend that you apply it with an off cycle of approximately 20 minutes and 20 minutes. When the pain or injury is new or does not seem to respond to treatment, always discuss the best treatment option with your doctor.


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