Certain types of neck pain treatment respond better to ice, while others need heat to soothe the pain. Often the dilemma is knowing which one works better.
Icing for New Injuries
Typically, chiropractors and doctors recommend icing for new injuries, especially when you can see red inflammation and swelling. According to Dr. Michael Neely, DO from the Dr. Oz Show, you should only ice four to six times within the first 48 hours of an injury and in 15 to 20 minute increments.
You can use crushed ice from the freezer or freeze a washcloth but it’s imperative to wrap your icepack in a light towel so it doesn’t touch the affected skin and further damage the tissue.
Using Heat for Chronic Pain
If you suffer from chronic neck and back pain, applying heat may eliminate some of the pain. Heating pads or heat compresses not only help muscle spasms, but are soothing and relaxing, de-stresses you, and pressure and anxiety often feed into chronic pain. Heat helps to reduce muscle tension and improve circulation, which is why there are so many options.
Traditional heating pads provide dry heat, while options like heated towels, hot tubs, and relaxing baths provide moist heat. In fact, some people love the massaging jets of whirlpools because it heals their aching muscles and feels relaxing.
Others prefer wearing all-day heat wraps if they suffer from chronic back or neck pain because they wear it under their clothes and still go about their day. You can apply heat from anywhere from as short as 15 minutes to as long as two hours though often you’ll feel the effects way longer.
Use Caution When Selecting the Right Neck Pain Treatment
In this icing versus heat debate, make sure you choose the right one because if choose the wrong one, you could do more damage. If you apply any type of heat to a brand new injury, you’ll only make it more inflamed.
Similarly, avoid icing muscle spasms, particularly chronic back or neck pain. Though you may think you’re helping, you’re honestly making the muscles contract harder and burn worse than before as these types of pain work better with heat.
If you are unsure what type of pain you’re suffering from and what neck pain treatment will work best for you, please contact us at Proactive Chiropractic to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Alec Khlebopros has over 10 years of experience in this field, and has been recognized is ranked as the area’s best chiropractor on both Facebook and BizVotes. Click here to see what services we offer, and how we can help you.