The Do’s and Don’ts of Ic­ing and Heat­ing

Oxygen - - Muscle-Up -

There’s a bit more to treat­ing an in­jury than just slap­ping some ice cubes or a heat­ing pad on it. It re­quires a bit of TLC, hav­ing the right equip­ment on hand and quick ac­tion.

Ice. Rao sug­gests us­ing an ice pack or frozen veg­gie bag that is wrapped in a thin cloth or a few pa­per tow­els be­cause plac­ing any­thing frozen di­rectly on the skin could cause frost­bite. Plan on 20-minute ic­ing ses­sions ev­ery hour within 24 to 48 hours of an acute in­jury. To keep the ice in place, try wrap­ping plas­tic wrap around the ice pack over the in­jured area.

Heat. There are two types of heat: moist and dry. Moist heat can come in the form of a hot shower, hot towel or moist heat­ing pad. If us­ing a heat­ing pad, Rao says it is im­por­tant for safety rea­sons not to fall asleep with it — this could lead to burn­ing your skin or even start­ing a fire. Again, you’ll want to limit us­age to 20 min­utes at a time, sev­eral times a day. Drug­stores carry ad­he­sive heat­ing pads that al­low for mo­bil­ity while treat­ing your in­jury.

Pre­cau­tions. If there is bro­ken skin, sign of in­fec­tion or you are not sure where the pain is com­ing from (i.e., left shoul­der pain with­out an in­jury could be com­ing from the heart), it’s best to seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion in­stead of self-treat­ing. Also, those with de­creased sen­sa­tion be­cause of nerve is­sues, like di­a­bet­ics who have pe­riph­eral neu­ropa­thy, can­not per­ceive tem­per­a­ture well, so they are at risk for cold or heat in­jury.

“I use a va­ri­ety of treat­ments to help pa­tients get back on their feet af­ter in­jury us­ing a whole-per­son ap­proach,” Rao says. “In­jury is com­mon, so don’t be dis­cour­aged when it oc­curs.”

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