Heat or Ice? Which remedy to use


Heat and ice are natural at home remedies for many aches and
pains. However, depending on your particular problem, there is a preferential
treatment for alleviation. In general, heat increases blood flow which helps
tight muscles to relax and helps stiff joints to loosen up. Ice works by
constricting blood flow which numbs pain, reduces inflammation, and helps
prevent bruising.

HEAT

In general heat is used for chronic long-term injuries. The
increased temperature makes the area feel better. In doing so, flexibility is
increased. Again, bouts of 20 minutes should be performed whenever pain is
felt. For arthritis, heat will help loosen up stiff joints. Heat can help
reduce the severity of headaches. When applied to the neck area, heat will
relax the throbbing head and tension of the neck muscles. Heat can also reduce
the stiffness of muscle sprains, especially those that have lasted longer than
6 weeks. It is important to note that heat should not be used for inflammation
because it only worsens this condition. Dry heat can be used which includes heat
pads, dry heating packs, or even saunas. Moist heat can be used which includes
hot baths or a moist towel. Heat should not be applied to an open wound. Heat
is not recommended for persons with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and vascular
diseases.

ICE

In general, ice should be applied to the area for 20 minutes
and removed for 20 minutes to help the initial injury. Cold therapy is also
called cryotherapy. This cycle should be repeated for the first 48 hours. An
ice pack can be as simple as a pack of frozen peas or corn. The popular method
is ice cubes in a Ziploc bag. Ice can also be massaged on the area by freezing
a cup of water and using the top area to rub on the site. Ice baths can be
done. Ice is the go-to method for any acute injuries. Upon application, it will
decrease inflammation and swelling. As uncomfortable and cold as it may be, ice
on the site of injury will work its magic to help reduce pain. Ice helps gout
flare ups by numbing the pain. It should be used for strains which are pulled
muscles or injured tendons. Ice will help reduce the swelling of these areas
and feelings of tenderness. Ice should be used for tendinitis. This usually
occurs in the joint involving the shoulder, wrists, knees, elbows, and heel.
The pain will be numbed. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin.

Pain should only be temporary. Be sure to seek medical
attention when serious injuries occur. A doctor can recommend best at home
practices to help. Don’t let an injury set you back any longer than it has to.
Take action the right way from the start and get well as soon as possible.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC522152/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3396304/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4225921/

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363546506290061

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