Ice Vs. Heat After an Injury


Ice Vs. Heat After an Injury

Dr. Sean Gimbert:

Hey, everybody. Today, I’m coming at you with a very common question we get here in the office.  That is, do I use ice or do I use heat? I will say not everybody agrees on this. But based on the data, and based on a lot of research that’s going on, we’re gonna give you our best recommendations.  Especially during the initial time when you come in and you’re going through that first, phase of healing. So the rule of thumb is, that we always recommend, is for the first three days, we’re always gonna be using ice. Why is that?

Well, number one, we have three phases of healing. And the first seventy two hours or three days is called the inflammatory phase. Now, during the inflammatory phase, that means you’re gonna have swelling. And what do we want to use for swelling? We want to use ice. That’s gonna help take that down as quickly as possible. We’re going to be doing that for fifteen minutes at a time, once an hour. Okay? Use for fifteen minutes at a time, once an hour as needed.

Now what do you do after three days? After three days, we can start to alternate ice and heat because now we’re getting into the repair phase of healing. Now be sure to watch our other video that goes over the three phases of healing if you have more questions about that. But during the repair phase, it’s the next six to twelve weeks after that. And in the beginning, we’re gonna be alternating ice and heat most likely.

There’s going to be a little bit of an individuality to these recommendations.  So you always wanna ask us and keep us updated on how things are going from visit to visit if there’s any changes because sometimes it’s going to be better to switch right over to heat.

But in the beginning, as a rule of thumb, after those three days, you’re gonna be alternating ice and heat, for about the next week. And then we’re gonna slowly, gradually be bringing you into using heat, because heat actually brings more blood flow to the area. More blood flow is gonna bring oxygen, and that oxygen is gonna help those cells heal.

If we’re just using ice the whole way through, we’re gonna be, deadening the sensation on the skin, which feels good. It feels good. But that’s actually can work against us. And we don’t want to prolong the period of healing. So that’s why we’re gonna be switching from ice to heat and heat is the predominant, recommendation for us once we’re through those first few days after an injury.

If you have any questions, like I said, feel free to ask us on our next, visit that we have. We’d love to talk to you more about it.

Watch the next episode, “Can I Sleep on Ice or Heat?”

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