It’s a common question and one that should be answered if you want to avoid further injury and pain. Making the wrong choice could result in more aggravation to the injury site, so make sure you heed this advice from our team of South Charlotte chiropractors!
The answer of whether to treat an injury with heat or ice depends on the cause of the injury and the symptoms present.
When to use heat on a back injury:
It’s best to think about this like a chemistry student. Heat is used to speed up a reaction. If you want to increase blood flow and circulation to an area of your body, such as a muscle or joint that feels tight or inflexible, then heat should be applied. So if you have feelings of tightness due to stress or tension, then heat is your go-to. Be careful about how much heat is applied and how often. We recommend no more than 20 minutes at a time, and be sure to use a heat pack that’s not too hot in order to avoid burns, or a heating pad on a low setting. Just don’t fall asleep with it touching your skin!
When to use ice on a back injury:
Ice is best if you want to slow down a reaction. (Again, think back to your high school chemistry classes.) Let’s say you have chronic pain due to inflammation. The answer to your problem is simple: cool it down. To slow down blood flow and reduce inflammation, it’s best to apply an ice pack. Make sure the ice doesn’t touch your skin, so you don’t get frostbite. To accomplish this, you can wrap it in a cold wet towel or cloth, and again, apply it for no more than 20 minutes.
In some cases you may want to use both heat and ice, and alternate for periods of 20 minutes each. If you’re not sure, give us a call at (980) 422-2000 to speak with one of our expert South Charlotte chiropractic team! We’ll steer you in the right direction.
If you’ve been suffering from chronic back pain for a while and nothing you’ve tried has worked, you may be due for a visit to our Charlotte NC pain clinic. Give us a call to reserve your appointment, or click here to request a FREE 15-minute phone consultation with Dr. Holly or one of her team members.