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Ice VS. Heat: What to Use and When

Life is full of bumps and bruises. And if you’ve found yourself injured, there seems to be a lot of differing information online about whether or not you should be using heat or ice to help manage pain and reduce inflammation.

As your partner in health, we wanted to set the record straight.

Here are a few tips for choosing heat and ice when it comes to specific injuries.

Headaches: If you have a throbbing headache, instead of reaching for a pain reliever like ibuprofen, consider using a cool compress at the base of your skull and around your neck. If you’re dealing with a tension headache, choose a warm compress around your neck to help relax tight muscles. Suffer from frequent headaches? Book a visit with us.

New Injuries (less than six weeks old): Ice is usually the winner when it comes to new injuries. That’s because ice may help constrict blood vessels, which lowers pain and inflammation. Heat, on the other hand, may increase inflammation in new injuries.

Chronic Injuries (older than six weeks): Choose a heating pad for lingering injuries as the warmth may help promote circulation and relax tight muscles, which can relieve stiff joints and offer relief.

Strains or Sprains: Using both heat and ice can be beneficial. Immediately after a strain or sprain, choose ice to help reduce swelling and inflammation. When inflammation has gone down, use heat to help relieve muscle stiffness.

Need More Help?

We’re always here for you. If you’re dealing with a new or chronic injury, consider booking a visit with our practice to find out if natural, gentle chiropractic adjustments could help. We’d love to welcome you into the practice!

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