Ice versus Heat: How to Help Injuries at Home
Injuries happen. People get hurt regardless of how careful you may have been. Hopefully, we are all able to avoid serious injury! When a minor strain occurs, and you’ve appropriately consulted your physician and chiropractor, you may turn to at-home treatments to make sure you’re comfortable during recovery. Our team at Get Adjusted Chiropractic understands that you want to live a pain-free life. Chiropractic care is an ideal way to rehabilitate your body and take the necessary steps towards feeling your best. Dr. Justin Lewis suggests a treatment of ice and heat depending on your injury and looking to remedy your pain at home!
When to Use Ice
Whether you’ve pulled a muscle or experiencing pain from overuse, an ice pack is an excellent solution for some injuries. The cold restricts blood flow, so an ice pack can temporarily relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Not sure when to break out the ice pack? Turn to cold when you’re experiencing more minor injuries like strains, sprains, and swelling. Ice packs can be used immediately after suffering your injury and throughout your treatment plan.
When Dr. Justin Lewis adjusts a patient for the first time, he always suggests icing a couple of times at night for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. When a patient is adjusted by a chiropractor, the doctor introduces more range of motion to the joint than it is accustomed. It is normal that after the first adjustment to feel sore or achy, so Dr. Justin Lewis recommends icing to reduce the onset of these symptoms. However, try to give your skin time to breathe and don’t leave your ice pack on for too long! Too much exposure to cold can cause nerve and tissue damage. Dr. Justin Lewis recommends icing 2 to 3 times a day for 10 to 15 minutes.
When to Use Heat
Adding heat to your recovery plan can provide excellent relief for more intense or chronic pain. Unlike an ice pack, heat increases blood flow with the use of tools like a heating pad. This added circulation can heal damaged tissue, although you should not use a heating pad on open wounds or already inflamed areas. “Be careful when using dry heat — patients with high pain tolerance should check regularly the air where heat is being applied. You want to be careful not to burn yourself,” states Dr. Justin Lewis. “You never want to fall asleep with direct heat to avoid this problem.”
General aches and pains can benefit significantly from the introduction of heat. If your body is feeling stiff or you’ve recently stretched muscles you haven’t used in a while, a heating pad can work wonders for your recovery — especially after a chiropractic appointment! “Heat is meant to be used for tight, stiff, achy muscles,” states Dr. Justin Lewis. “It increases blood flow to the area to decrease muscle tension and increase circulation.”
Heating pads and ice packs can provide great temporary relief. If your injury is anything more than a minor sprain or swelling, you should seek further medical advice. These are not long-term health solutions that work best when paired with a full-scope health and wellness plan. “Heat and ice are great short term, temporary solutions to help you relieve some of the initial symptoms that you are having,” explains Dr. Justin Lewis. “It is important to recognize that pain is a symptom of a deeper-rooted issue. It’s always best to attack the cause of the problem rather than the symptoms.”
Regular chiropractic appointments and solutions paired with your at-home care are hands-on approaches to a pain-free life. At Get Adjusted Chiropractic, this holistic approach to your health treats your current pain and any issues beyond just these symptoms.
Prevent long term pain with Get Adjusted Chiropractic! Book an appointment online today or call our office at 845-809-8300 to schedule a visit with Dr. Justin Lewis.