Both heat and ice are fantastic, natural methods of managing pain. We often get asked by our patients when to use heat and when to use ice. There is a lot of confusion amongst people as to when best use these useful modalities.
In the cooler months, there is nothing better than curling up on a cold evening with your warm wheat bag. Heat is a useful tool to use when an area is stiff and cold. Think of a stiff neck in the morning or an achy low back at the end of the day. When a condition has been hanging around for more than a couple of months we tend to label it as chronic. These are the types of problems that respond really well to warmth. It improves blood flow to the area and assists in softening local muscles and joints.
Heat can be applied in the form of a wheat bag, hot water bottle, heat creams, hot shower or the latest invention – adhesive heat patches. We recommend using heat for 20-30 minutes at a time. Always be careful with your heat pack or hot water bottle. Wrap it up in a towel to avoid the temperature getting too hot.
Next time you visit the clinic, have a look at our fantastic lavender infused wheat bags.
For newer, more acute injurues, ice should be the choice. These are the types of inuries that usually involve heat, reddness and swelling. Sports injuries, joint sprains and muscle strains all fit into this category. Ice helps to reduce the heat and inflammation and also provides some soothing analgesic properties.
Many people have ice packs in their freezers but if you don’t, a pack of frozen peas will suffice. Use ice for 20 minutes at a time and repeat two to three times a day for really acute injuries.
And yes… we also stock lovely ice packs for your convenience at the clinic ☺