Heat or Ice: When to apply what | Fitness
Both heat and cold can help reduce pain but of different types. It can be confusing to decide which is more appropriate at any given time. Many of us have often used the wrong one and ended up worse.These basic rules may help:
Ice is for injuries — calming down damaged superficial tissues that are inflamed, red, hot and swollen. The inflammatory process is a healthy, normal, natural process but can be painful. Icing is mostly just a mild, drugless way of dulling the pain of inflammation.
During headaches, pain arises in nerves and blood vessels in the brain. It can be numbed by applying ice through ice packs or towels.
When the ligaments in your joints are stretched or torn, you must apply cold treatment to ease inflammation and to lessen pain.
Heat is for muscles, chronic pain, and stress — taking the edge off the pain of whole muscle spasms or conditions like back pain and neck pain and for soothing the nervous system. Heat is better for conditions that are long-lasting and chronic, usually those that last more than six weeks. Arthritis leads to tearing away of cartilage in various joints. For a condition like this, hot treatment is recommended because it eases joint stiffness and relaxes the muscles.