Heat Vs Cold?

When to use one over the other.


Gabie Falconer

Chiropractor

Gabie comes from the country town of Dubbo which is about 5 hours north west of Sydney. Her passion for chiropractic comes from many years of interest in health and the human body as well as personal experiences with chiropractic treatment. She has a passion for health and the benefits that chiropractic has on the body. Gabie has attended courses in Thompson Technique and Dry Needling to help expand her knowledge within the field.

02 8411 1024

Heat and ice are two of the most common non-invasive, inexpensive and harmless ways of managing pain.

The best way to understand what type of injuries should be iced is to understand how your body reacts to injuries. Knowing the difference between an acute injury and a chronic condition helps determine when it’s time for ice or heat.

What type of injuries should you apply ice to?

Best practice is to apply ice to an acute injury or new injury. An acute injury such as a sprain, involves tissue damage & inflammation around the injury site. Acute injuries are short term injuries that have occurred suddenly. Common acute injuries include:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Muscle or joint sprain
  • Jarred fingers/wrists

When you get a sprain, you damage blood vessels and when they are damaged, swelling occurs, applying cold causes the blood vessels to constrict, reducing the swelling. For superficial injuries, ice acts as a numbing agent, reducing pain at the area.

When icing an injury, it is important to respond quickly and reduce inflammation. Limit application of ice to 10-20 minute sessions every hour or two, excessive icing can irritate the skin or cause tissue damage. Continue icing for the next 24-48 hours.

When to apply heat?

Chronic pain or conditions usually require heat therapy, chronic pain indicates that the body has not fully healed and pain can reoccur frequently. Some common chronic conditions include:

  • Muscle pain or soreness
  • Stiff joints
  • Arthritis

Heat does the opposite to cold; heat allows for our blood vessels to expand and our muscles to relax, applying heat creates a soothing effect from stimulating circulation and increasing tissue elasticity providing pain relief.

Finally make sure you have your injury reviewed by a Health Care Professional so that an appropriate treatment and rehab management plan can be devised. Even a simple ankle sprain can pre-dispose you to long term instability and issues when not properly treated.

If you would like a professional assessment you can arrange an appointment with Dr Gabie (Chiropractor) by calling our office on (02) 8411 1024 or emailing enquiries@essentialhealthcentre.com.au.

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Entry via Railway Pde - 2/274 Pennant Hills Rd, Thornleigh, NSW, 2120

2/274 Pennant Hills Rd, Thornleigh, NSW, 2120

02 8411 1024


We're located on the corner of Pennant Hills Rd and Railway Pde with the entrance just round the corner on Railway Pde. It's a 3min walk from the door of the train at Thornleigh station or an equally short walk over the foot bridge from Aldi.


That's us on the 2nd floor. Our door is just to the right of the big real estate signs.

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