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Ice vs. Heat: What To Use And When

When living with sore muscles or an injury, you’ve likely spent a lot of time searching for a way to manage your symptoms quickly. Ice and heat therapy are very beneficial for managing pain, but each treatment works better for different situations. At LI Integrated, our physical therapist in Ronkonkoma NY can help identify the underlying cause of your symptoms and employ the proper techniques to relieve your pain. Continue reading to discover when you should use ice or heat therapy. 

Ice vs. Heat: What To Use And When

Ice and heat play helpful roles in treatment, but understanding when to use them can be tricky without the help of a physical therapist in Ronkonkoma NY. In most cases, ice therapy should be used at the onset of an injury, and heat should be utilized later. Acute injuries often cause your body to react with inflammation and swelling, so ice therapy can help cool the inflamed tissue and reduce your swelling. Heat at the beginning of an injury can cause an opposite reaction, so it is best to use heat during your recovery to help you get back to health. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding between ice or heat for your injury or pain:

  • Acute Injuries - Heat should not be used on an acute injury as it can delay proper healing. Ice can constrict blood vessels and numb pain if the injury is less than six weeks old, which helps limit bruising and relieve inflammation. Lingering injuries can benefit from heat to help increase blood flow and relax tension.

  • Arthritis - Worn away cartilage or inflammation in the joints can cause pain throughout your body. Heat can help reduce inflammation and soothe achy joints and muscles.

  • Migraine - Ice therapy can help soothe throbbing in the head, so it is the preferred therapy for headaches. A heat wrap can help relax neck spasms that cause headaches.

  • Muscle Sprain or Strain - Sprains and strains can benefit from a combination of ice and heat. Starting with ice at the onset of your injury can help ease inflammation. Once the inflammation is resolved, you can switch to heat to help relieve muscle stiffness at the injury site.

You can apply heat and ice in many ways, but our experts will help you find the safest and most effective way to use these therapies.

Contact Our Physical Therapist in Ronkonkoma NY

Knowing the best times to use ice and heat can help improve the effectiveness of your treatment and recovery. At LI Integrated, our physical therapist in Ronkonkoma NY will evaluate your condition and determine the best course of action to help you back to an active and pain-free life. Contact us today to learn more and request an appointment!

New patients receive a Free Back Pain Consultation.

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  • "Dr. Berns has provided me with excellent care. I'd never been to a chiropractor before and now I can't imagine going anywhere else. The entire staff is friendly and attentive. The service I was received was tailored to my needs. I recommend Dr. Berns and the whole staff at LI Integrated very highly."
    - Maureen Wilson.

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