Ice or Heat???

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Ice or Heat???

Postby SportsMedicineCenter » Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:01 am

(Please share with your PARENTS!)

Immediately after an injury people often ask if they should use ice or heat to treat the injured area. Although both ice and heat have some immediate pain relieving effects, it is recommended that the initial treatment of any musculoskeletal injury be ICE!!

Ice promotes local constriction of blood vessels, thus controlling inflammation and swelling to the injured area. In contrast, heat increases blood circulation through blood vessel dilation, thereby allowing increased inflammation and swelling to enter the site of injury. In addition to controlling inflammation, using ice immediately after being injured has been shown to significantly decrease pain.
There are several reasons why ice reduces the pain of an acute injury. First, ice reduces inflammation and muscle spasm / muscle guarding that often causes the pain involved in an acute injury. Ice has also been shown to slow the speed of nerve transmission, thereby reducing pain sensations. Finally, ice bombards the pain receptors of the nervous system with so many cold impulses that pain impulses are lost. Although heat does have some immediate pain relieving effects it is not recommended that you apply heat to an injured area within the first 72 hours after being injured. Putting heat on an acute injury has been shown to increase long-term pain and stiffness due to the increased swelling that heat introduces to the injured site.

Another factor when determining whether to use heat or ice for an injury is the depth of the injury. Cold applied to the skin is capable of significantly lowering the temperature of tissues at a considerable depth if cold is applied for 20 to 30 minutes. If the injury were an injury to deep tissue, like a hamstring or quadriceps strain, ice would be most beneficial in treating the injury. If the injury were to be a more surface tissue injury like is a low back strain, and ice has already been used as the initial treatment, then heat may be of benefit in treating the pain.

To summarize, when you sustain an injury it is best that you treat it with ice for the first 72 hours after being injured. Ice decreases inflammation and swelling, decreases muscle spasm and muscle guarding, and decreases pain to the injured area. In contrast, heat should not be applied to an injury because heat has been shown to increase inflammation and swelling, thereby increasing long-term pain and muscle guarding. Ice is also more beneficial when treating deep tissue injuries such as quad and hamstring strain.
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Re: Ice or Heat???

Postby Moose » Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:08 pm

What about the 20 min. of ice and 20 min. of heat treatment?
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Re: Ice or Heat???

Postby walrack21IM » Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:10 pm

moose, your only treatment is booze
Stat's are like a bikini, they show a lot, but just don't tell the whole story
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Re: Ice or Heat???

Postby Moose » Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:51 pm

Oh thanks... also its not booze it would be beer.
Walrack - Boddy wouldn't change the defense to a 4-3 where they could utilize my natural playmaking abilities as a roaming free safety, woulda won states if he woulda listened.
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Re: Ice or Heat???

Postby SportsMedicineCenter » Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:55 pm

To answer your question Moose, I would avoid heat. Although, depending on where the injury is, how long you have had the injury, and you injury history, there could be a place for heat. Are you speaking for yourself on an injury? What is the injury?
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Re: Ice or Heat???

Postby Moose » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:01 pm

No i was just told more than once by a few different people/coaches that you should go 20 min. cold and then to use some like a hotpad for 20 minutes. They said to use it for various things, such as sprains, bruises, ect.
Walrack - Boddy wouldn't change the defense to a 4-3 where they could utilize my natural playmaking abilities as a roaming free safety, woulda won states if he woulda listened.
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Re: Ice or Heat???

Postby SportsMedicineCenter » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:03 pm

Are these "few people" professionals in the medical field? What kind of credentials do they have?
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Re: Ice or Heat???

Postby Moose » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:14 pm

Well they were mostly coaches, and others were family members, so im just guessing that its an old remedy type deal.
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Re: Ice or Heat???

Postby Gwinnball7 » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:54 pm

why do ice baths work so well when your sore?
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Re: Ice or Heat???

Postby SportsMedicineCenter » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:41 pm

Moose, you are correct with the "old remedy". Please pass on the "new remedy" information. Thanks for your question.
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Re: Ice or Heat???

Postby SportsMedicineCenter » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:44 pm

Gwinnball7, the reason ice baths work great when you are sore becuase of the effects of ice listed above in the article. Keep icing down when you are sore. Thanks for the great question. ICE is an athletes best friend!
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