When to use an ice pack? and When should one use a heating pad?

The fact that none of us like being in pain is established but still, in our day-to-day lives, we often encounter several situations that result in injuries leading to pain. 

Any form of physical pain is your nervous system telling you that something in your body is not right and requires immediate attention. There are various types of pain, with acute and chronic pain being the most common. In contrast to chronic pain, which affects you for a longer period of time, acute pain lasts for a shorter time and is typically the result of an injury.

It is essential to understand what to do and how to take care of yourself when you experience pain. Even though we know some tried and trusted pain relief techniques (like an ice bag or a heating pad), it is crucial to know when and why to use them. Not doing this right can result in overly painful situations.

When to apply ice-packs? 

A cold compress helps reduce potential swelling and inflammation in injuries like tendonitis, acute pain, and pain from strained muscles. However, the icing process is not just limited to ice-packs, there’s more to it, like cold whirlpools, cold wraps, and even bags of ice – depending on the type of injury.

Experts recommend applying ice to an injury immediately after its occurrence with a 15 minutes break in between the sessions, as over-icing can further damage the area. 

When to use a heating pad?

Applying sudden heat to an injury can cause additional damage. Therefore heat treatments are typically used during the healing process. Applying heat for aches, pains, cramps, and muscle stiffness for small 15-20 minute sessions is enough to increase the flow of blood and reduce pain. It is also advised to use moderate heat while heating an injury to prevent burns.

When used correctly, these conventional methods of treating pain can be beneficial, yet if the pain persists for an extended period, you should see a doctor. 

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