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When to Use Hot or Cold Therapy
When to Use Hot or Cold Therapy

Although you should always see your doctor for an injury, it is also important to understand when to use hot or cold therapy.

For simple injuries like a mild sprain or lower back pain, starting treatment early can really make a difference in healing time.

They type of injury you sustain will let you know which therapy to use. There are two types of injuries acute or chronic.

An acute injury comes on suddenly and usually associated with trauma like a fall, collision or sprain. Common symptoms of an acute injury are swelling, tenderness, pain and inflammation.

Chronic injuries tend to develop slowly over time from overuse or repetitive motions. The symptoms tend to come and go depending on your muscle, tendon and ligament usage. The discomfort is usually a dull ache or a feeling of soreness.

Cold Therapy

Cold therapy is highly beneficial to use on acute injuries. It helps the blood vessels in the area to shrink and reduces swelling and inflammation.

When applying ice an injury, always remember to not apply it directly to the skin. Either put a towel or cloth on the skin or wrap the ice in it.

You will need to ice the area for about 10 minutes at a time at least three times a day. Between each application wait for the skin to warm back up before beginning another 10 minute round.

Hot Therapy

Hot therapy is good to use when you have a chronic injury, which do not have any signs of inflammation. Using heat will increase circulation and stimulate blood flow to the affected area.

Just like ice, never apply heat directly to the skin. Place a towel or cloth on the skin then apply the heating pad. Apply heat to the area for about 15 minutes at a time at least three times a day.

If your symptoms do not improve in a few days, see your doctor.

Always seek advice from a doctor before starting any at home treatment.

  • Athletic Orthopedics
    & Knee Center
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    Houston, TX 77055

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