We’ve all had those long tough workouts where you just get home and can barely move right after. Depending on who you ask, some would say use ice, others say use heat. Truth in the matter is, if you’re not using the right one, your efforts could be useless and you might get little to no relief!
Here’s a rule for how to treat your pain: If it’s a sharp pain, go with ice. If it’s a dull, chronic ache, heat is better. That’s a bit oversimplified, but a good place to start.
“Anything that might result in swelling should get ice to reduce the impact,” Draovitch says. “And any area that feels sore or stiff needs heat to increase circulation.”
When it comes to ice, don’t apply it for longer than 20 minutes and avoid direct contact with the skin. When the area feels numb, stop. Compression can help, so wrap the ice pack. When applying heat, compression is even more important. Heat wraps are great, or use compression clothing. In a pinch, a hot shower can do wonders.
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