Whether you are someone who goes into hibernation during the long winter months or you are a year round outdoor enthusiast, as the weather warms up and you return to your favorite activity you may encounter soreness or an injury or two.
Injuries may be acute or chronic. Acute injuries result from a fall or trauma, such as an ankle sprain, which occur immediately and may be very painful. There is usually some swelling and/or redness as well as pain and tenderness. In this case, ice is the treatment of choice since cold will help decrease swelling. It may also decrease redness or bruising (caused by broken blood vessels) by constricting blood vessels and stopping internal bleeding.
There are several ways to ice which include cold packs, frozen vegetables or other freezer items which conform to your skin. When using this method of ice, always be sure to place a light towel between the ice and your skin in order to reduce the risk of excessive cold or burn. Be sure to check your skin for redness and numbness periodically. 20 minutes is sufficient.
Chronic injuries are those that have a more gradual onset lasting a longer period of time (several weeks or months) and may come and go. Some may be from muscle overuse such as those that occur in the lower back with repetitive motion or even with prolonged sitting. Some may be from an acute injury that wasn't properly treated.
While ice constricts blood vessels, heat opens them, allowing for increased blood flow to the sore area. This can help relax tightness and assist in healing. However, if there is inflammation present, do not use heat since this can make the swelling worse.
Heat may be used for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to place enough towels between you and the heat to prevent burns.
Lastly, there are times when heat and ice can be used in combination to provide relief. For example, you may use heat as a way to warm up the muscles prior to exercise or stretching and then applying ice after to decrease the possible onset of soreness.
Whatever the choice, when in doubt, ask your physician or your friendly Pinnacle Physical Therapist!
Added on 06/15/2011
Therapy/Rehabilitation by The Lyons' Share-Our Blog
No comments have been added yet to this post.
Post a comment - top
Please register to leave a comment.