What is best for sore muscles, Heat or Ice?

Posted: December 3, 2009 in Massage

Do you have sore muscles that have you begging for help, and wonder what is a better strategy heat or cold to get relief?

Cold first: Cold reduces swelling and inflammation and relieves pain.  To relieve pain associated with sprains and strains, it’s usually best to first apply a cold compress for about 20 minutes at a time every four to six hours over the first few days.

During ice treatment you will feel the following stages: Cold, Burn, Ache, and Numbness – as soon as you feel numbness STOP– 20-30 min max.

Ice Therapy is very safe when used within the treatment time recommendations.  It is not recommended:

Rheumatoid conditions – In Raynaud’s disease – Cold allergic people – In Paralysis or areas of impaired sensation directly over superficial nerve.

After receiving a deep tissue massage for a specific muscle group (shoulders/neck area)– its always good idea to ice that area to reduce any inflammation and/or soreness  that may arise.

Heat 2nd: Start applying heat after pain and swelling have decreased,

Usually 2 to 3 days after the injury.  Heat is helpful in relaxing tightened and sore muscles and helps reduce pain.  Apply heat to injured areas for 20 minutes up to three times a day.

For chronic pain- such as arthritis- heat is usually better.

Heat patches and heat pads can be used.

We hope this helps you!

JC Health and Fitness

  1. Ginger Margel says:

    Thanks Cindy, understanding when to ice or heat is something we tend to forget. I am happy to see we will have our own therapist and personal trainer at our fingertips to keep us on track.

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