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Ice or Heat: which should you use?
Date : 17-Mar-2013

Hello Everyone,
First of all, I want to let you know that the long awaited WBV (Whole Body Vibration) Machine has arrived in the office. It's truly a great way to strengthen your bones, your core muscles and is a valuable way to get in your weekly exercise with a minimum amount of effort. Increase your flexibility and increase your focus and energy. Call the office to schedule your preliminary workout.

Today's topic is a universal one. If you're in pain, what do you use, Ice or Heat?
I'm asked that question daily. Most people prefer to use heat since it is so comforting. but Heat is not always the best solution. Let's examine the effects of each. Heat creates a vasodilation (increased blood flow) to the area of pain which feels very soothing at the time of application. However in many conditions, Heat is counterindicated. Take a herniated disc or a sciatica that causes pain radiating down the leg. Putting on heat feels good for the moment, but when you take it off and try to walk, you may find your pain actually getting worse.
Why is that?
Because the heat relaxes muscles and muscles are needed to support your spine. When the muscles weaken your body places excessive weight on your spine and nerves causing much more pain.
Ice, on the other hand, freezes the area and when you take it off, blood rushes to the inflamed body part to warm it up and this causes the area to heal. When you get up to walk around, you can actually feel better then with the heat. So, I will recommend ice more than heat. (20 minutes to 1/2 hour on and 2 hours off)

When would heat be a good idea?
I usually recommend heat when there is a chronic arthritic joint. Heat works well in these cases. Most sports injuries, falls and nerve pains do best with ice.

If you have any questions about this or any other health problem, please feel free to either email me or call the office.
Until next time.....