I get this question all the time…
Should I ice my injury or heat it?
It's a great question!
Here's my simple answer:
When to Ice
Your injury is acute. It happened within the last 48 hours and you can remember the exact instant you were injured: there was a pull, snap, crackle or a pop.
Ice will help decrease swelling, pain and inflammation. It is critical for rapid recovery.
For how long?
- 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off x 2-3.
- Don't keep ice on for longer than 10 minutes, it can actually have a hindering effect.
- Put the ice on you don't put yourself on the ice. If you rest your leg ontop of ice that can cut off circulation and therefore impact healing. Make sure gravity holds the ice down, you're not pressing it down.
When to Heat
Your injury is chronic or sub-acute. It came over a period of time, maybe you were over-training, or improperly overusing a certain body part. There was no exact instant where you felt the pain come on.
Heat will decrease pain in the area and increase blood flow which will help heal your injury faster. You have a dull pain when at rest.
The best heating pads are ones with moisture heat. I bought my heating pad (below) in Toronto at a specialty massage store: Know Your Body Best. This store is so cool, great people work there and they have an endless selection of essential oils and everything you need for a massage and more!