In an earlier blog we discussed if you should use heat or ice for self-care and for first aid. Believe it or not there are times when you should be BOTH heat and ice. Interesting eh?
In general, muscles benefit from increased circulation to heal by applying some heat (not too much) or massaging the muscle. This increases the blood flow to th muscles. Also, when there is a painful joint, the body best benefits from the use of ice, both as First Aid for an acute injury to the joint and in chronic repetitive arthritis or arthrosis types of problems.
So when do we combine heat and ice together? Again in general, this is preferred when the tissue that is painful is neither muscle nor joint but connective tissue, where the muscle attach to the bone; as in between the ribs or when the muscle tapers into a tendon through a mesh of connective tissue. The “thermal contrast” improved both circulation and reduces inflammation for the myofascitis / tendonitis combination.
Over use or micro-trauma and forceful injury The tearing of these fibers will cause pain that can be localized to towards ends of muscles as they are about to attach to their points of origin or insertion. This is where the combination works best.
The formula for best practices is simple as follows:
- 20 minute session: 5 minutes of Heat, followed by 10 minutes of ice, followed by 5 minutes of heat, all back-to-back.
- 40 minute session: 10 minutes of Heat, followed by 20 minutes of ice, followed by 10 minutes of heat, all back-to-back.
Connective tissue heals slower than muscles and faster than tendons so this may need to be repeated one or twice daily for 10 or more days.
Yours in Health,