Ice and Heat


Do you have a plan in place for when pain strikes? Even the healthiest of athletes is prone to a flare of back pain that can sideline them for an indefinite amount of time. Many people are familiar with the “crick-in-the-neck” that results from a night spent sleeping awkwardly on the pillow; this kind of pain is known as acute and relates to a specific injury that can be resolved in a matter of hours to weeks. But some people can’t afford to be out for even a minute- the demands of life are set so that there is no margin for lost time. In this scenario, it is helpful to have a toolkit in place for coping with pain and allowing you to push on despite it. It is equally important to be knowledgeable about why your particular technique is effective. Let’s take ice and heat for example, because coping with pain is made significantly easier with the application of one or both!

Ice encourages vasoconstriction, in which blood vessels narrow, muscles flex and inflammation is blocked. Heat does just about the opposite, encouraging vasodilation, so that the blood vessels expand and allow healing nutrients to flow into the region. By alternating ice and heat, you are putting a damper on the pain and speeding up the healing process. The effects are magnificent and true relief can be found in as little as 20 minutes. Ideally, however, you will apply ice for 10-15, then heat for 10-20, up to 3 times a day. 

This is a page straight out of the conventional wisdom handbook, but it bears repeating: taking the time to rest and apply ice and heat, in that order, will significantly improve your experience with back pain. For more tips on managing pain, and for help on addressing the underlying cause of your pain, give our office in Hackensack a call to schedule an appointment today.

Dr. Albert Stabile, D.C. 

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.