There has been recent controversy whether the use of ice or heat is more beneficial following an injury. This is because researchers are questioning why we are counteracting thousands of years of evolution and the body’s natural healing process of inflammation. What we do know from the research is that applying ice to an injured area can help reduce pain, heat and redness, but does it negatively affect healing? We aren’t sure yet. In my opinion, applying heat to an injury within the first 48 hours while there is inflammation would simply increase the amount of heat and redness, and perhaps even increase pain.
So let’s keep an eye on the upcoming research, but for now, stick with what has been working pretty good so far: first 48 hours after an injury with inflammation present, use ice for 10-15 minutes several times a day to help control the pain. Day three and onward, go for heat. But as always, when in doubt go with what feels good.
Kristi Hunter, Prairie Trail Physiotherapy