Ice or Heat? | Manhattan Sports Medicine Doctor
If you’re into sports or fitness at all, you’re probably aware
of the simple home remedy of ice or heat to relax and heal sore muscles.
Both can help remove waste products and bring in healing cells by increasing
blood flow to a particular area of the body. However, using the
wrong one can actually slow the healing process and even make the injury worse,
so you want to make sure you get the right one. On this blog, we’ll
take a look at which one is right for a particular injury, and how to
properly apply both treatment remedies.
Determining which to use can be made easier if you understand how both
treatments work. Applying heat to an injury helps it heal by allowing
more blood flow to the area, activating the vasodilating receptors and
bringing healing cells to the area. However, for injuries that result
in a lot of swelling, this is not ideal. When you are injured, you also
injure the blood vessels, resulting in fluid leaks in the area, which
create fluid buildup, resulting in the swelling. Applying heat encourages
more blood flow to the area, resulting in more fluid escaping through
these leaks and
increasing the swelling.
On the other hand, icing an injury is the best treatment to bring in blood
flow while reducing swelling. Icing an injury deactivates the vasoconstrictor
in the blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the area but doesn’t
further injure already leaky blood vessels. As a result, you get all of
the benefits of blood flow, along with a reduction in swelling. Icing
an injury is also effective because a 20-minute ice treatment actually
gives you 40 minutes of healing—it takes an additional 20 minutes
for the vasoconstrictor to go back to normal.
Which Type for Which Injury?
So now that you know how these two methods actually work, which one do
you use for your injury?
If your injury is acute, meaning that you have injured it directly as a
result of your sports, such as a sprained ankle, jammed digit, swollen
knee, etc., then ice is the way to go for at least the first three days.
You will want to begin icing it as soon as possible using a plastic bag
filled with ice and a little bit of water. Place it on your injury directly
for 20 minutes at a time at least three times per day.
For older injuries where the swelling has subsided or for sore muscles
(such as muscle fatigue after a hard workout), heat is the better choice.
Heat helps encourage blood flow to these areas, and so long as there is
no swelling or blood vessel damage, you will see the maximum benefit from
the relaxation heat can bring to your sore spots. Additionally, you should
always use heat for back injuries, even if you have thrown your back out
while at work or lifting something heavy. Back injuries rarely swell and
are almost always muscular, so apply heat generously until you can see
us in person for a chiropractic visit.
If you an athlete, fitness enthusiast, or even someone who just likes to
get their regular exercise, you likely know of the importance of seeking
high-quality medical care if you become injured. Dr. Rolland Nemirovsky of
Manhattan Sports Therapy specializes in treating all types of sports-related injuries. As a Manhattan
sports medicine doctor, he understands the importance of seeking effective
and rehabilitative treatment that can get you back on your feet and in
the game as quickly as possible. His practice is specifically focused
on physical rehabilitation, which means that your injury is in the hands
of a well-trained and uniquely-focused staff determined to help you get
back to full strength.
schedule an appointment, call Manhattan Sports Therapy today at (646) 798-1330.