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Heat & Ice

Benefits of Heat
• decreases pain by producing anaesthesia effect
• increases blood supply to damaged area
• makes muscles and fascia more pliable
• lessens muscle contraction
• encourages relaxation
• increases ease of movement

Use heat for chronic conditions (pain that is at least 2 weeks old)
Max. 20 minutes on; 40 minutes off
Never use on acute inflammation or bony thin skinned areas

A hot water bottle or wheat bag can be used. Moist heat is more effective: place a damp flannel under the heat source.

Do not use heat for acute conditions (less than 48 hours). 
For these follow the RICE principles:
Benefits of Ice
• prevents and reduces swelling
• decreases inflammation by decreasing blood supply
• decreases pain
• decreases stretch reflex
• decreases spasm
• increases ease of movement

Use ice for acute conditions (up to 48 hours after trauma)
Use an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a tea towel for max. 10 minutes on; 20 minutes off

Contrast Bathing
this is where cold and heat are used alternately to:
• pump blood through the area, flushing it with fresh blood bringing oxygen and nutrients
• reduce swelling (by pumping the lymphatic vessels)

Start with cold for 5 - 7 minutes followed with heat for 3-5 minutes. Repeat.

• excellent for chronic joint inflammation
• do not use on acute inflammation (ice only)