THE THERAPEUTIC USE OF HOT AND COLD

There is some confusion about when to use heat and when to use ice.  The following is our recommendation for the use of each.

ICE

Ice is used for acute conditions.  An acute condition is an injury or recent pain of less than 3 days.  Any other inflammatory, sharp or strong pains can also be helped with ice.  Ice is more effective the sooner it can be used. 

Ice should be placed over the area of pain for 15 – 20 minutes, no more.  Then wait the rest of the hour, 40 min, before repeating the treatment.  Ice when used correctly will produce an aching, and then burning before it goes numb. 

The two best forms of ice therapy are:  put ice in a zip lock bag or store bought ice bag.  Add a little bit of water to fill the air space.  Then put the bag right to the skin.  The second is the reusable gel pack that you keep in the freezer.  There is an important safety tip with these.  They should be wrapped with a damp hand towel.  When placing against the body, have just one layer of damp towel between the ice pack and the skin.  The reason for this is that the gel packs can get too cold and freeze the skin.  If the gel pack freezes the towel then next time let it sit out for 1-2 min. before wrapping it in the damp towel and using it. 


HEAT

NEVER USE A HEATING PAD FOR THERAPY!!!!!
It is too hot too long and will make the pain worse when the heat is removed.

Heat is only good for one condition and that is for tight uninjured muscles.  Heat should never be used on an injured or inflamed tissue. 

The heat source should be moist heat that starts hot and gets cooler.  Heat can be used every thirty minutes if desired. 

Some great sources of moist heat are:
Hot bath or shower
Rice filled bags you put in the microwave
Get a towel wet with the hottest water you can stand and wring it out.  Some put
       the towel in a plastic bag.
NEVER USE A HEATING PAD!
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