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Ice or Heat for An Injury?

Do you often get confused if you should use ice or heat on an injury? We’ve got the answers for you!

Our general rule of thumb is to ice acute injuries. Acute injuries are those that have happened less than a week ago. These are new injuries that show signs of swelling, redness of skin, and/or are hot to the touch. Ice will constrict blood flow, which is good to decrease inflammation to an area. 

On the other hand, injuries that had gotten better at one point, but sometimes bug you from time to time are what we like to call chronic injuries. These injuries include achy, sore, or tight muscles that often come from repetitive tasks, old injuries, or consistent trigger points.  These types of injuries typically respond best to heat. More specifically, moist heat. Heat will help increase blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to an area, resulting in a more relaxed muscle.

In either case, never apply directly to your skin. Always add in a barrier layer to protect your skin from burns or frostbite. We recommend applying heat or ice for approximately 20 minutes at a time.

If you have further questions about whether you should use ice or heat for an injury or ache, drop them in the comments below or give us a call at (615)-900-5187.

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