Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ice or Heat for Injuries?

Here is a question I get often: When I have an injury, should I use ice or heat?

For some people, this is a subjective topic. There are people who have preferences based on what feels good to them.

Here is my take: When there is an injury, use ice immediately to helps reduce swelling. Remember the old adage: RICERest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Once the bruising leaves and there is still some stiffness or pain, go ahead and apply heat. Topical ointments like Ben Gay or Tiger Balm work well. I also like hot, moist washcloths.

Self-medication is recommended for minor injuries that occur on a regular basis, i.e., joint aches, sore muscles and other mild pain that rest doesn't heal, and aches and pains that are more a bother than a medical issue.

When an injury occurs, always check with your physician as soon as possible. Be smart and be healthy.

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