Heat Or Ice, Ice, Baby!

May 5, 2009

Hello, Powerful People,
As always, I hope this finds you fantastically healthy!

While I do not wish that any of you have to deal with injuries, sometimes aches and pains  are a part of life and do get in our way.  Recently, someone asked me, “How do you know if you should use heat or ice when treating an injury?” I would like to rephrase this question  with a very bad song reference: HEAT or ICE, ICE, BABY??

Mantra: ICE is always NICE, while HEAT can help BEAT regular soreness and older injuries.

Ice (or cold packs) relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation from injuries.  So, if it is a new injury (i.e., less than 7 days old), ice is your best bet.  Please note that if there was/is a lot of swelling with the injury (even if is more than 7 days old) you still want to continue with ice.  Remember: ice is always nice!

You can also ice for a more chronic injury (i.e. shin splints), but be sure to ice after the activity; never before.

So, where does heat fit in to this mix?  Heat can most definitely help with muscles that are simply tight or sore from a previous workout.  A good bath soak does wonders for sore muscles, as does a heating pad.  Remember: heat can help beat regular soreness and older injuries. In addition to beating sore muscles, heat can be applied after an injury occurs (after the first 7 days).  Because heat helps the blood flow, which can aid in restoring flexibility to the area, it can promote healing.  However, if you notice that the swelling increases when you heat it, STOP the heat and go back to ice!

If heating works for you, and you feel ready to exercise, please note that it is recommended to heat before you an activity; not after!

Applying Ice and Heat

Apply to the injured or sore area at least 3 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time (be sure it is no longer).  Be sure there is some cloth between the ice/heat and your skin.  Doing it in the morning, in the late afternoon after work or school, and about one-half hour before bedtime usually works best into our busy schedules.  It will really help promote healing!!!

Wishing you many, many days and years of being injury-free!  (Just file this away in case you need it later.)

Happy working out!!

In peace,


We must be the change we wish to see ~ Gandhi


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