Ice or Heat? Heat or Ice? in Woodlawn MD

Ice or Heat? Heat or Ice? in Woodlawn MD

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What should you do if you get a minor musculoskeletal injury in Woodlawn? See your chiropractor, of course! But what should you do until you can get into the office. Here are some general rules about the use of ice (cryotherapy) and heat to help you stay safe:

1. Within the first 48 hours after an injury you should only use ice. An injury often causes minute tears in soft tissue and heat will increase blood flow which could cause unnecessary bleeding into the tissue. Ice will temporarily slow blood flow letting your body knit together the tears thus reducing the amount of swelling.

2. When using ice only put it on an area for 15 minute every hour or your body will change gears and flood the area with blood flow much like using a heating pad…not good.

3. Never put ice or an ice pack directly on the skin. This can actually cause cutaneous (skin) burns. It can leave some pretty ugly scars making any sensible person less likely to wear a mini skirt…especially a well meaning gentleman.

4. Heat can be used 48 hours after an injury in the main part of your body. This includes the trunk, neck and back and usually the shoulders and hips. The elbows, wrists, knees , ankles and feet have to deal with the pull of gravity all day. We call them \"dependent joints\" and they tend to swell just from hanging around all day. These areas heal better when we continue to use ice according to the above rules. Heat can increase blood flow and let fluids pool in these \"dependent\" areas.

Many injuries are relatively minor and you can treat them with ice or heat at home. If the injury is more than minor, if you still have symptoms of any kind after the second day, or if you just feel more concerned about this particular bump or bruise, give us a call. Get into our Woodlawn chiropractic office and let us take a quick look. We\'ll be happy to save you the 3-4 hours that you\'d spend in the emergency room. We have more comfortable chairs than most ERs anyway.

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