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When To Use Ice? When To Use Heat?

icing an injury image

Heat may feel soothing, but ice has curative properties.

One of the most common natural health care approaches to pain – whether it’s a headache, neck pain or sports injury like a sprained ankle – is to apply ice or heat to the affected area. But which should you use? And when?

Common wisdom is that ice should be used for recent injuries, whereas heat should be used for longer term, chronic complaints. I beg to differ. As a chiropractor in Davis, CA for over thirty years, it is my experience that when injuries remain unresolved, problematic and painful – whether they are recent or chronic – using ice is always the best choice. That’s because although heat is soothing, ice is curative.

How Does Ice Work?

With each application, ice first purges the affected region of all depleted and stagnant lymph and blood fluids (vaso-constriction). Then when the ice is removed, a rebound rush of fresh blood (vaso-dilation) occurs, washing over and through the area. This rebound effect brings with it rejuvenated blood with all of its enhanced healing factors. When your injuries remain unresolved, old or new, use ice.

Dr. Donald Wilson is a Davis, CA chiropractor who has been practicing for over thirty years.

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