A common question we get in therapy is when to use modalities such as heat or ice/cold. They are both very helpful in treating pain in joints and muscles and can be used to assist in your recovery from injury or surgery.
Here is some information about the two to help you decide which is the best option for you.
- A great “Warm Up”
- Reduces muscle tension
- Prepares the area for massage or exercises
- Best used for chronic pains
- Be mindful of possibility of burns to the skin and limit application to 20-30 minutes
- Generally contraindicated immediately after surgery, in acute injuries or over actively swollen areas
- Increases blood flow to the area
- A good “Cool Down”
- Reduces blood flow to the area
- Helps to decrease inflammation and pain
- Beneficial after exercise or stretching or on acute injuries
- Can cause muscles to tense up when applied so is best used after activity
- Application is generally for 15-20 minutes or until the area is numb
- In a pinch, you can use a bag of frozen veggies for icing the injured body part
If you have any specific questions or concerns, please discuss with your PT or Doctor prior to using any modalities without supervision.