Do you know when to use Heat or when to use Cold for an injury?
Do you know when to use heat or when to use cold for an injury? We get asked that question all the time; below is the answer you've been looking for.
As soon as possible after an injury, such as a knee or ankle sprain, you can relieve pain and swelling and promote healing and flexibility with the RICE method. RICE stands for:
Rest and protect the injured or sore area. It would be best to stop the activity that caused the injury immediately. Discontinue any activity that may contribute to the pain or soreness.
Cold reduces pain and swelling. Apply an ice or cold pack as soon as possible to help prevent and/or minimize swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes in intervals of three or more times per day. If after 48 to 72 hours the swelling is gone, apply heat to the area of discomfort. Do not apply the ice or heat directly to the skin, always use a towel or other covering over the cold or heat pack before applying it to the skin.
Compression, or wrapping the injured or sore area with an elastic bandage, will help decrease swelling. Make sure not to wrap it too tight; this can actually cause more swelling below the affected area. If the bandage gets too tight with use, make sure to loosen it. Some of the indicators that a bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling in the area below the bandage. If you feel that you need to use a wrap for longer than 48 to 72 hours; a more serious problem may be present and you should talk to your health professional.
Elevate the injured or sore area while applying ice as well as anytime you are sitting or lying down. Pillows can be used to elevate the affected area. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling.
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