If you have a local area of pain (back, neck, shoulder, knee, etc), you may have tried some over-the-counter remedies, including ice and heat. But which one should you use?
1. Use ice to treat swelling. This is especially true for swelling in the lower body (knee, ankle, foot). Prop your leg up so that the affected body part is higher than your heart and put a bag of ice or frozen vegetables on it for 10-15 minutes at a time. Be sure to have 1 layer of cloth (such as a pillowcase) between the ice and your skin. Swelling in the leg will increase whenever you walk, so rest it as much as possible.
2. Use ice for an inflammatory problem, such as tendonitis (shoulder, knee, elbow, ankle, etc). Ice is more effective than heat for these conditions.
3. Use ice for pain control. It will help to numb the affected area in order to provide short-term pain relief.
4. Use ice if using heat for your painful area has not provided good pain relief.
5. Use ice if you have pain and are not sure whether to use ice or heat. Most people tend to use heating pads and have never tried ice to see if it is more effective for their pain.
6. Use ice for heel/arch pain related to plantar fasciitis.
7. Use ice to treat a new injury for the first several days or longer.
8. Use ice for your back pain. You may be surprised and find that it gives more relief than your heating pad.
To Be Continued!