Ice or heat, which one does the trick and when?Ice and heat treatment are two very common types of treatments used by sportsmen and even orthopaedics. Source.
Both of these treatments are used for different purposes at different times and for different injuries. Yet there is much dispute as to which one is better and more effective.
Ice Treatment:[pullquote]Ice treatment is used mainly to reduce the blood flow to an injured area or region of the body.[/pullquote]
Generally during any sports or ordinary injury, if one tends to twist or strain his/her ligaments or muscles, they should immediately apply ice to that area as this will help in reducing the swelling and prevents the tissues from getting more damaged.
It can be done by freezing a bottle of cold water which can be applied to the injured area, chemical cold packs can are also very commonly used. Even immersing the affected area in ice-cold water can do the trick.
Using ice on an injured region numbs that area temporary which acts as a local anaesthetic. This slows down the pain messages that are sent to the brain during an injury. Ice treatment is most effective within 48 hours of an injury.
For athletes who have just gotten injured, REST, ICE COMPRESSION and ELEVATION are the common standard treatments used.
On the other hand, heat treatment is used on an inflamed area to dilate the blood vessels and promote blood flow which helps in reducing muscles soreness and tightness. It helps in relaxing the muscles. Healthy and improved blood circulation help in the elimination of build-up of lactic acid which can occur post exercising.[pullquote]It is in this case that one can say that heat is chosen and better than ice treatment, but this doesn’t mean that on the whole heat is better than ice.[/pullquote]
Heat treatment can be done by using heating devices, hot water bags or using hot compression on and around the injured region of your body. Soaking the area that is effected in hot warm will work too. The water should be between 33-37 degrees Celsius in order to see the best results.
It is very difficult to determine which treatment is better as both have their own pros and cons and dos and don’ts. They both are used for different reasons and different kind of injuries. To help you understand which should be used when and get rid of your confusion once and for all, we suggest you watch this video.
Conclusion: Using the ice and heat treatments are very beneficial, cheap and something you can do on your own at your convenience. Use each wisely and when needed as both have different purposes and effects.