Heat or Ice?

A super common question. This is a repeat for many of you, my dearest massage clients, but always a good reminder. 

The question to ask is When:  “When did it happen?” (acute injury) or “When does it happen?” (chronic pain).  

Acute sudden injury

Did it happen today? Ice it. You want to prevent the sudden swelling which can impinge otherwise healthy tissue. Ice is best for recent trauma.

Yesterday? Skip the ice. Elevate it, rest it, but now you probably have more spasms, more “bracing” going on, which segues us into…

Chronic repeating pain

Rise and shine and… ouch? Morning pain and stiffness, after you have been still, is spasm.  HEAT and motion will ease the contraction. Hula in the hot shower, baby! Or with a nice hot water bottle. Small gentle movements win the day.  

Happy hour not so happy? If pain comes on as the day wears on, that’s inflammation. Tissue trauma from current use. Grab the ICE and anti-inflammatories (ibuprophen) and rest, rest, rest.  My favorite trick is a wet towel in the frig. I find it easier than a bag of ice, to wrap around wrists, neck, knees. Limit ice to less than 20 minutes.   

And of course, call me. 😉

Here’s a pain management article for a little more info.