Our clients often ask the difference between using cold and heat to speed the recovery of muscle strains and other injuries, so we've put together the following some information for you to consider.
Ice is recommended for acute injuries in the first 48-72 hours following injury to reduce the inflammation, swelling and pain.
Why does ice work?
Ice/cold therapy causes the surrounding blood vessels to vasoconstrict (narrow), which limits the amount of internal bleeding into the injured area. Reduced bleeding will cause significantly less scar tissue to be laid down in the injury site. The overall severity of the injury will be reduced and injury recovery time enhanced.
Cold therapy recommended application
For acute injuries apply a cold pack or ice to the affected area for 20 minutes every 3 hours for up to 48-72 hours. For best results ice can be applied with compression and elevation of the injured area.
Heat is recommended to relieve pain and stiffness in more chronic conditions such as arthritis. It is also used prior to exercise/activity following injury.
Why does heat work?
Heat is effective in promoting blood flow to an area via vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels).
When not to use heat
Do not apply heat in the first 48-72 hours following injury, as this promotes excessive bleeding into the injured area as well as excessive scar tissue formation.
Suffered a recent injury? Let our team look after you.