Advanced Chiropractic - Spokane Chiropractor

Icy Hot Pain Relief In Spokane WA
by Dr. Paul Miller

Read Icy Hot Pain Relief In Spokane WA by Dr. Paul Miller to learn more about Advanced Chiropractic and our Chiropractic office in Spokane, WA.

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Inflamation Spokane WA Joint PainIce or Heat? When you suffer from an injury or need pain relief, this question arises quite frequently. Most often, we apply the solution that our mothers gave us or what our best friend who also suffered from the same injury or pain did.

While some say ice is better for your pain, others claim heat will do the trick. But how can you tell which is more appropriate for the type of injury you’ve sustained or the pain you are feeling? And what is the best way to apply ice or heat?

With many differing opinions, let us help clarify the most effective way to use ice and/or heat to help you return to the best of health.

Nature Knows Best

Safe, natural, and effective pain relief is found in ice and heat. Unlike pain medication, when ice and heat are applied correctly, they offer natural and effective pain relief to precisely affected areas.

Pain medication has to be swallowed, digested, and assimilated, which can affect your entire body. Unfortunately, most often, this leaves a trail of potential side effects.

Ice It Down

With an acute or new injury, ice is very effective for relieving pain and reducing inflammation. The icy cold temperature numbs the area to reduce pain. It slows down other cell functions and bleeding, preventing bruising and swelling from the waste and fluid build-up, helping to minimize further tissue damage and scar tissue formation.

If you want to numb pain quickly and efficiently, invest in a gel pack and have it frozen and ready inside your freezer. If you are desperate and are nowhere near a frozen gel pack, grab some frozen peas and mold the package with maximum contact to your skin.

Fire It Up

Heat is best used for stiffness of joints, to relieve muscle spasms, and chronic pain, such as chronic neck or back pain; it helps increase blood flow during the repair stage of an injury. Greater blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients to your cells and removing waste materials.

With heat, muscles relax and allow you to move freely, allowing for increased flexibility and facilitating proper stretching of damaged tissue. Remember always to use a barrier between the heat and your skin, such as a cloth or towel, to prevent burns. Heat can be applied with a thermal gel pack or a small, wet hand towel.

When To Use Ice and Heat

When one or more of your muscles go into spasm, your body reacts to this “injury” by sending an increase of white blood cells to the site. These extra white blood cells can interfere with the red blood cells’ routine tasks of carrying oxygen and nutrients to the injured area. Waste products also stagnate and accumulate in the affected tissue.

A lack of oxygen to the site can also stimulate a “pain-spasm cycle” where the nerves send “pain” signals to your brain. In response, your brain contracts the muscles near the injury to close off the blood supply and prevent swelling. So starts the vicious cycle that can lead to more spasms and pain. Unless the cycle is broken, it can continue for years.

Best of Both

Alternating ice and heat is one of the best and easiest ways to break this cycle. Both ice and heat help shut down the nerves that fire the pain signals. When the pain messages can’t reach the brain, muscles don’t contract and constrict blood flow to the injured area. Applying ice and heat consistently for a sufficient period of time can help break the pain-spasm cycle.

Note of Caution

If heat is inappropriately utilized during the inflammatory phase of healing, an increase in blood flow to the already swollen, injured area often increases pain. A rule of thumb should be as long as the pain is present, ice is usually safer and more effective.

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Chiropractors Spokane, WA

For Your Health,

Dr. Paul Miller

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