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Ice vs. Heat Chiropractic Therapy – Which Is Right for You?

If you have been injured during a workout, accident, or by simply moving the wrong way, you might find yourself reaching for a heating pack or ice pack, or maybe both. But which one is best for your injury?

There is a lot of confusion about when to use heat or cold to treat injuries, and it can even get more complicated when you include chiropractic treatment in the mix.

Our team at Impact Medical Wesley Chapel is here to put an end to the confusion. Here is a breakdown of when to use heat and when to use ice in chiropractic therapy!

Ice Ice Baby

Ice therapy, also called cold therapy, is one of the most common types of therapy that we recommend immediately following an injury that involves swelling or residual pain.

Chiropractic cold therapy can come in many forms from using ice packs to using lasers to reduce pain. It is a great way to relieve pain without the need for medication. The cold restricts blood flow to the sore area, providing a bit of numbing action that decreases pain and swelling.

Chiropractors often use cold therapy as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan. For example, if you are struggling with chronic pain, you may be able to use cold therapy in conjunction with chiropractic adjustments.

The sooner you use cold therapy after an injury, the better. We recommend applying an ice pack to an injured area for about 15 minutes, then taking it off for 30 minutes. Remember to make sure to use something to protect your skin from the cold, such as a towel.

Cold therapy isn’t always comfortable, but it will help to reduce swelling and pain so you can heal faster.

Heat It Up

Heat therapy is used to relieve pain and muscle stiffness and is commonly used to treat long-lasting or chronic pain. There are many forms of heat therapy that chiropractors use including heating pads and moist or dry heat packs. Your chiropractor may use heat therapy in conjunction with other treatments like exercise, manual therapy, and cold therapy.

Heat therapy is effective because it causes blood vessels in the treated areas to dilate or open wider. As a result, blood flow to that area is increased, allowing sore muscles to relax, and become more flexible. This increased blood flow also promotes healing.

Safely Applying Cold and Heat Therapy

There are many ways to apply ice and heat therapy. However, we recommend applying them for up to 15-20 minutes on and off. Here are some typical cold and heat treatments and how we recommend using them:

  • Ice packs: Use ice for the first 72 hours until swelling, tenderness, or inflammation is gone.
  • Ice manual: Use an ice cube to manual a tender area until it is numb. This is best for awkward areas like elbows or heels.
  • Moist heat: Take a warm shower, bath, hot tub, or whirlpool
  • Heating Pads: Do not use heating pads on the highest setting and remove them when it becomes uncomfortably warm.

If you have poor circulation or cardiovascular disease, consult with your doctor before using any form of cold therapy. You will also want to be aware of how long you are icing your injury, because icing an area too long can cause tissue, skin, and nerve damage.

Wesley Chapel Chiropractic Treatment

If you are dealing with chronic pain or an acute injury, come visit our team of chiropractors at Impact Medical Wesley Chapel. We will create a comprehensive treatment plan for you that may include heat or ice therapy to provide relief from pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Find relief from pain and inflammation at Impact Medical Wesley Chapel and schedule a chiropractic consultation today; (813) 953-1002!