A question we get in the office is whether heat or ice is better for a particular pain or problem. When we talk about this, a lot of times people will say how heat really feels the best. But what does the research really say?
Research demonstrates the best one is the one that feels the best for you; however, many times people want a little bit more guidance.
Guidelines that we can follow when it comes to heat versus ice is paying attention to the 24-48 hour window from the injury. We tend to use ice more in that window of time because ice is better at lowering the level of inflammation as well as helping reduce the amount of pain.
Here in the office, we utilize heat more just because we're trying to loosen up muscles and get those joints nice and loose so that when we go to adjust it's a little bit easier. Heat is good for more chronic problems, more of your arthritic conditions, and more of those conditions that have been more based on stiffness rather than true pain.
When you are trying to decide whether or not to use ice or heat for a particular problem, try both. You can do one in the morning and one in the evening. If heat and ice aren't enough, give our office a call!