Ice Ice Baby: Answering your questions about the use of hot and cold treatment in Chiropractic care

When it comes to acute pain, the question of hot or cold treatment options always arise. “Should I ice it?”, “should I take a hot shower before I work out my tender muscles?” Here at Broadway at Burrard Chiropractic Dr. Tyler Hunsberger and Dr. Jerry Wright have a few things to say that might clear up the confusion.
Chiropractors make use of both ice and heating along with treatment, but both options bring different results for acute injuries.

Ice is effective for the immediate treatment of an acute injury in bringing down inflammation of tissue. By applying ice to an injured area you are reducing and preventing bleeding and swelling, are reducing the risk of spasms and treating muscle pain by preventing the excess tissue fluid from gathering in the affected areas.

If your body is already cold, however, try to stay away from ice as an option so not to aggravate the injury further. It’s also important to avoid cold treatment if you are just about to participate in a physical activity, if you have an open wound or if you are sensitive to cold temperatures.

While cold treatments are great for inflammation or a recent injury, heat is a great treatment option for alleviating sever muscle pain that can lead to chronic injury. Heat soothes the nerves making pain more tolerable and can be applied in various forms such as with heating blankets or hot water bottles. The gentle application of heat causes blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow to injured areas and reducing stiffness and pain that can lead to injury.

It is important to note that heat should be warm, not hot. You don’t want to burn your skin making the pain worse. It’s also important to note that heat should not be used if there is inflammation due to an injury. Applying heat to an inflamed area may actually make the inflammation worse. Heat application works most effectively if your body is moderate to cool in temperature, so don’t apply heat if you are already sweating. Its best utilized as a treatment in the winter time.

Dr. Dr. Jerry Wright and Dr. Tyler Hunsberger recommend that heat and ice be used as a viable treatment option to alleviate pain of acute injuries, but it is important to take into account all the above factors when deciding which treatment option to use. Dr. Wright says as a general rule of thumb, “use ice for the first 24 hours and use heat after that, but every circumstance is unique”.

Also! Remember to never apply heat or cold treatment directly. Make sure you’re wrapping both cold and hot treatment with a towel or sheet to protect yourself.

In every case it is best to consult your Vancouver Chiropractors regarding what treatment would work best given your unique symptoms and injury. Book in today with Dr. Jerry Wright and Dr. Tyler Hunsberger at for your appointment today!

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