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When do I use ice and when heat?


Posted by Chris C.

heat or cold?
 
Answers (2)
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Ice it... but be cool. You should be using ice to reduce swelling and to help with pain. It's important that you keep your cool with this arctic remedy, though, because too much ice can cause - what? - you got it, frostbite. So, it's important that you ice your area to bring down swelling but don't ice it all day or anything crazy. As for heat, that's just to loosen up the muscle and get the blood flowing. If you heat up something when it's already injured, it's just going to cause more swelling cause there will be more blood.
The above comments cover mostly reducing swelling with icing: by the way, wrap the ice pack into a towel – to prevent the frostbite. Apply the heat to alleviate the pain, where there is no swelling. From experience, the only thing that helped my aching arthritic knee was a warm bath: it worked like magic, immediately. So heat in general to help with the pain, when there is no swelling! Also listen to your body. It tells you what feels good and what is right!
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