If your back or knee hurts, some people advise you to apply ice. Others swear by heat. Who’s right? Here is what physical therapist in NJ recommend:
Does your injury involve swelling and inflammation? Is the injury new, from the past few hours?
Because ice and cold packs constrict blood vessels, they are efficient in reducing or preventing inflammation. For best results, apply ice as soon as possible after an injury. It also helps the affected joint remain more mobile and maximizes the effectiveness of massage and other manual therapies.
To avoid tissue damage, do not apply ice or cold packs for more than 20 minutes at a time. Wrap the packs in towels, and don’t place them on areas where you already have circulation issues.
Does your injury involve tightness and muscle spasms? Did the injury occur more than a day ago?
Injured muscles, ligaments and tendons may become tight and develop spasms after time passes. Applying heat helps with pain management and keeps these areas flexible. In turn, this flexibility helps you or your physical therapist stretch the area for better circulation and mobility.
Also, use heat for chronic pain—pain that is recurrent or persistent. The heat increases your blood supply, relaxes muscles and boosts toxin elimination. Apply heat before you exercise, but avoid doing so after exercising because it may increase your pain. Instead, apply ice or cold packs to help with the inflammation that results from exercising.
Whatever your injury involves, ice and heat are just two components in a treatment plan. It’s a good idea to seek out physical therapy in NJ to either supplement your at-home treatments or to receive a full-body approach for complete healing. Your therapist will take thorough medical histories and conduct examinations to get to the root of what’s causing your issues. Treatment plans often include manual therapy as well as passive therapy such as laser treatment, electrical stimulation and continued ice or heat therapy.