You get out of bed like you normally do, but this time when you go to stand up, you feel a sharp pain in your lower back. Did you overdo it in Zumba yesterday or just sleep funny? Either way, it seriously hurts, and you want relief. You can't remember if it's better to grab an ice pack or a heating pad.
Both methods increase blood flow to the injured area and are beneficial in reducing pain as well as speeding the healing process. Heat increases circulation, which boosts the supply of oxygen to the area and accelerates the removal of waste products. Ice restricts blood flow, which reduces inflammation and numbs pain. To ice or to heat? This chart should help.
|Use ice pack, bag filled with ice cubes, or bag of frozen vegetables; apply no longer than 20 minutes||Use heating pad, hot towels, or a hot bath; apply no longer than 20 minutes|