Best Chiropractor in Gwinnett, Dr.Carter explains the effects of cold and heat on pain.
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Hi! I'm Doctor Ross Carter. I'm a Board Certified Chiropractor in the State of Georgia and I've been practicing here since 1996. Hi! I'm going to talk to you today about ice and heat. Typically, when patients come to see me, they have injured themselves and they want to know, should I use ice or should I use heat. What's funny about that is most people do the wrong thing. So what I'm going to do is give you some tips or some little information that might help you when you injure yourself. So if you have injured yourself, typically what happens is let's say for example, let's say, you injure your arm. What happens is when you injure it, it increases the circulation in the area. So you got more blood flow in the area. So it can turn red and it will swell. Now if you put heat on that, that will actually increase the circulation in that area and that's what you want to avoid. You want to take this swelling out. The way that you do that is to use ice. Ice, put directly on the area that's inflamed will help decrease the circulation of the blood and will cause this swelling to start to go down. If it happens in your lower back or your neck, it would be the same way. What you want to do is you want to put ice or an ice compress or ice pack on the area for stay about 15 to 20 minutes. Now what you don't want to do is just keep putting ice on there constantly. It will help numb the area, but the problem is it can cause problems later on. And you don't want to do that. So you want to put the ice on for just about 15 to 20 minutes on. Then you can take it off for say an hour. Put the ice back into the refrigerator or freezer and then you could do it again. You can keep doing this process and that will eventually get the swelling down of the area that's inflamed. Now heat is great for chronic conditions. Chronic conditions mean that it's been there for long time. Maybe, you have a lot of soreness or something that continuously shows up. That's when you want to use heat because what heat does is, it increases the circulation in the area that's affected, which is what you want when you have a chronic condition. So you want to ice when you have an acute injury and heat when you have a long term or chronic condition. Now typically, after the condition you've been using on it for little while, you want to start to alternate. You can use ice for little while and then you can use heat. That's pumping the area. That can help the fluids get in there quicker and allow that areas to heal faster than they should.