Q: Ice vs. Heat, when is the proper time to use one of these inexpensive self-treatment options?
A: The short answer is to use ice on an acute injury (within the last 48 hours), not heat. Why? Pain, swelling, and redness develop in the affected area. This is your body’s response to soft tissue damage. Ice reduces the pain and swelling by constricting the adjacent blood vessels and numbs the transmission of pain. Heat on the other hand, dilates blood vessels and increases the inflammatory process. Heat has its place though, and can be very useful for old injuries, or areas that have gotten stiff and “crunchy”
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