We all know that treating an injury immediately after it
happens can help minimize the pain and damage as well as facilitate recovery.
But after rolling your ankle in a soccer game, or hurting your back when lifting
your toddler, or tweaking your knee when stepping out of your car, what's best?
Should you ice it to try to control inflammation, or would heat be better to
While it's difficult to establish a fail-safe rule for when to apply ice or heat, the
general directive is to use ice for the first forty-eight to seventy-two hours after
an acute injury and then switch to heat.
Different individuals will constitutionally vary greatly in their reactions. Some people
are more prone to the types of inflammation exacerbated by heat, while others
find their bodies contracting and tightening at the mere mention of ice. Try
each option and pay close attention to how your body and mind respond, and let
your gut be your guide.
Ultimately, what works best for you is, well, what's best for you.