Hi I’m Dr. Wainwright from Tallahassee Chiropractic and Injury Clinic.
Today I wanted to try to share with you whether or not heat or icing is best for aches and pains and different injuries as far as to your muscular or skeletal system.
Now I get this question very frequently and there’s a lot of different information and a lot of different opinions from all over about heat, whether heat or applying ice is better, when you have a hurt back or hurt neck or sciatic pain or just aches in your joints.
So I guess to start off with I would just say this, the unfortunate reality is there’s not a ton of compelling evidence from different scientific studies to say whether or not heat or ice is better. I’ve read numerous amounts of studies. Some say some things are good, others basically have a little bit of disagreement. It seems like overall the general rule of thumb is that there’s not really a great consensus one way or the other.
The facts that we do know at this point is that neither heat nor ice will really physiologically speed up the healing of the injury that you have sustained whether it’s a sprained ankle or you’ve hurt your neck or you’ve hurt your back. Ice or heat are not really going to speed up the healing time frame, if that makes sense.
However with that being said in my experience and having worked with thousands of different patients who’ve had herniated discs and lower back pain and neck pain and headaches and sciatic pain and pinched nerves, I have seen that typically when a patient is in the acute phase of an injury, icing or cold packs that are used for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time tend to be the best for decreasing a lot of inflammation so there’s a lot of swelling if there’s a lot of tenderness I’d recommend ice at that stage in order to help bring down some of the swelling, help bring down some of the tenderness and essentially to at least have the patient be a little bit more comfortable in that particular time period even though it won’t necessarily speed up the healing it is gonna make folks more comfortable.
Now the easiest way to identify if you are in the acute phase is number one, was the injury or the aggravating factor that happened was something that happened within the last few days if so you’re probably in the acute inflammatory phase that’s when you want to use ice. Another way to think about it is if the pain that you’re feeling is more of like a sharper pain or if it’s more like a burning sensation, then again those are good indicators that you probably want to use ice.
Now on the flip side if you have more like a chronic injury something that’s been around for a really long time and then it’s just generally achy and not feeling great then at that point that’s when I recommend that you use heat. Heat really feels good even though most people think heat is probably the best thing for all injuries, he will feel good but if you use it when you have a lot of inflammation going on it actually can increase some of that inflammation and maybe increase some of the tenderness as well that you experience them.
So I don’t recommend heat during the kind of the acute inflammatory phase but more so for the chronic phase of dealing with achiness that’s when I recommend using heat. Again, I would suggest that use it for about fifteen t twenty minutes at a time, don’t sleep on a heating pad all night but 15 to 20 minute intervals you can use heat and again the rule of thumb is if you’re not sure if you’re in the acute or the kind of the more chronic stage, think of it as if, if it’s more of an achy pain that’s when you tend to want to use heat. If it’s more of a sharp or burning sensation, that’s when you want to use ice.
So hopefully that helps. If you are dealing with any kind of neck pain, back pain or sciatica pain and it’s a chronic injury or you injury and you’re really not sure what to do about it, then I basically invite you to come to my office I’ll meet with you one-on-one we can discuss exactly what happened and what’s going on and really try to find out if you’re a candidate for basically the care that we have in our office everything in our office is a is a natural solution we don’t do any cutting needles injections everything is very gentle, pretty much painless we don’t do any snapping or popping of the spine. If you want to find out if you’re a candidate for this type of care to help with some of these either an acute or chronic injury, I’d love to sit down with you and try to basically best direct you.
If you look at the description down below here on the video you’ll see my contact information we have a website there, we have our phone number you can give my staff a call they’ll get you right in for a no-obligation consultation there’s no cost as complementary and I’ll basically find out whether or not I can help you.