Should I Use Ice or Heat?

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There is some confusion about which is better for a certain stage of the healing process. The best way to make sense of the ice/heat debate is to understand what is happening during the healing process.

During the *acute inflammatory stage* of the healing process there is inflammation and there is pain. This stage typically lasts about 2-3 days following the time you are actually injured from an auto accident. Application of* ice* is best for controlling inflammation and temporarily numbing the pain in the effected region.

During the *repair phase* the tissue is healing and it is recommended that the injured person use heat to deal with tightness of the muscles. *Heat *will help promote blood flow to the affected area and reduce muscle tension. This phase of the healing process occurs between 3 days and can last up to 14 weeks. During this stage, it is not uncommon to experience flare-ups of pain that are accompanied by inflammation of the affected area. In this case, *Ice* can be used to help control inflammation and pain.

During the *remodeling phase, *the tissue has repaired and the body is now attempting to return to its normal state. During this phase it is important to perform exercises and stretches as prescribed by a chiropractic physician. Proper stretching and exercises can promote normal range of motion and can promote strengthening of weak muscles. *Heat *is often used in this stage to help reduce muscle tension.

See your chiropractor for examination and consultation immediately when you have an auto injury.

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