Should I Use Ice or Heat for an Injury? Common Causes & Signs You Should Go to the ER

Should I Use Ice or Heat for an Injury? Common Causes & Signs You Should Go to the ER

Injuries happen all the time, from accidental falls such as falling down stairs to trips, to knocks, to strains and sprains when carrying boxes for example as well as sports related injuries especially when playing contact sports. As far as injuries go, their severity is what will dictate what course of treatment one should pursue. It goes without saying that if the injury is severe and involves serious situations such as open wounds and open fractures as well as heavy bleeding, then going to the ER is the only option so as to avoid any serious consequences, with the excellent being among places to visit for such services. However, in most cases, injuries are usually minor and can be treated at home with home remedies. Along with elevation and rest of injured part, one of the main parts of home treatment remedies as far as injuries go is the use of ice and heat compresses. While they are both very effective ways to treat injuries at home, the issue that arises revolves around when one should use ice and when they should use heat. That is where this article comes in as it will attempt to highlight those injuries where one should use heat and those where one should use ice as well as the signs of these injuries that indicate that it may be time to go to the ER.

Straight off the bat, it is important to highlight that as far as injuries are concerned, one should use ice on acute injuries, that is, injuries as a result of a traumatic event on a specific area of the body, as well as new injuries that are accompanied by swelling and inflammation. These include injuries such as strains, sprains and bruises. As per the subject matter experts over at, use of ice to treat such injuries is recommended as the ice will reduce, temporarily at least, the flow of blood to the injured area. This will enable the inflammation, swelling as well as the pain due to the injury to go down and as such offer great relief in such situations. However, it is also important to highlight some of the best practices as far as using ice compresses go and they include elevating the injured area, applying the ice as soon as possible after the injury, avoiding applying ice directly to the skin and therefore ensuring the ice is wrapped in a towel for example so as to avoid skin and tissue damage. These will enable you to get the best results for your ice treatment as far as your injury is concerned. If the injury involves the breaking of skin, ensure that the wound is cleaned and dressed before applying the ice compress. However, there are instances where the sprain or strain require more than treatment with ice and need one to go to the ER, such as the highly rated and excellent Here, signs that one needs to do so include if one is experiencing immediate and severe pain after the injury, clear deformity of the injured part which may be a sign of a fracture, an inability to put weight on the sprained area, an inability to move the sprained area as well as severe swelling and tenderness of the sprained or strained area. These signs should always be taken seriously and in such scenarios, a cold compress wont suffice.

Moving on to heat, it is best used to treat chronic injuries, that is those injuries that are ongoing such as arthritis, as well as injuries that are accompanied by non-inflammatory pain and stiffness. These include injuries such as back or neck injuries. Heat can also be used to treat acute muscle soreness, which are injuries that can be as a result of overexertion like lifting boxes that are too heavy for you or overexerting in the gym. According to the gurus over at, heat works well for these sort of injuries as it helps soothe and relax tense muscles and since it increases blood flow to the injured area, it helps heal damaged tissue. There are also some best practices as far as using heat to treat injuries go and they include using a warm heat source, not one that is hot so that one can avoid burns, not using it on bruises, open wounds and areas with swelling as well as not using it for inflammatory body pain in the joints and muscles. While injuries to the back and neck can be treated with heat, there are instances where one may require to go to the ER as far as they are concerned. Some of the signs to look out for include weakness in legs and arms after the injury, fever, having problems urinating, problems with bowel movements as well as instances where the neck or back injury was as a result of a serious accident such as a high fall or a car accident.

Hopefully this article will help you figure out when you need to treat an injury with ice and when to do so with heat. Remember, if an injury requires more than heat or ice, make sure you head over to the ER to be assessed and attended to, with being one of the best places to visit for such services.


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