The weather is getting nicer and more people are starting to exercise. This means the potential for more soreness after working out, especially if this is for the first time in a while. With post exercise soreness comes the question, do I heat or ice?
Is the area inflamed, red, hot or swollen? Ice it ❄❄ Cold therapy is also known as cryotherapy. It works by reducing blood flow to a particular area, which can significantly reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain, especially around a joint or a tendon. It can temporarily reduce nerve activity, which can also relieve pain. Use this if it is a new injury that you think might be torn, or feels sharp in symptoms.
Is the area aching or stiff? Heat it. Heat therapy works by improving circulation and blood flow to a particular area due to increased temperature. Increasing the temperature of the afflicted area even slightly can soothe discomfort and increase muscle flexibility. Heat therapy can relax and soothe muscles and heal damaged tissue. Use this if this is something you have dealt with on occasion in the past and if feels more sore.
Still don't know what to use? If you start to use one and you don’t like the feel of it … just switch to the other. Try it for 10 minutes and if you don't like it switch!
Don’t use cold or heat packs: over areas of skin that are in poor condition, over areas of skin with poor sensation to heat or cold, over areas of the body with known poor circulation, if you have diabetes, or in the presence of infection. Try to stick to 10mins/hr with ice or heat to avoid any adverse effects including burning your skin.