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Ice is used after an injury to reduce swelling and decrease pain. Ice should be used after an acute injury for the first 48 hours or until the swelling is eliminated. Most post-procedure recommendations include the use of ice at the site of the injection. However, most regenerative procedures typically instruct not to use cold or ice. Ice packs can be made by placing ice cubes or crushed ice in a ziplock plastic bag, or commercial frozen gel pack. Ice packs should not be placed directly on the skin to avoid frostbite; they should be placed over a wet washcloth or towel and can be held in place an ace bandage. Ice packs should be used for 10-20 minutes every 2-3 hours.

Ice massage can be done by first freezing water in a paper or Styrofoam cup, then tear away the top lip of the cup, and massage the ice into the injury for only 5- 10 minutes. If ice packs are put directly on the skin and left too long, frostbite may occur.

Heat can reduce muscle spasm, improve joint stiffness and make soft tissue more limber. Heat can also help to loosen tight muscles and joint and during a warm-up period. Examples include: moist hot packs to tight leg muscles that are going to be stretched before running, or to a shoulder before throwing. It is important not to use heat in the first few days after an injury or while your injury has any swelling.

Moist heat is most effective than dry heat as it penetrates deeper and has a better effect on muscles, joints and soft tissue. It should be used for 15-20 minutes. Moist heat in the form of towels soaked in hot water or commercial moist heat packs are effective. Do not use over-the-counter creams before using heat as that combination may result in skin burns. Also do not use a heating pad constantly (for example overnight) as that may also result in skin burns.

If you are diabetic or have circulation problems please consult your physician before using heat or ice treatment. If you have open wounds do not use either ice or heat directly. If you have any concerns please contact your physician as this information is only a general guide.

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Chesterfield, MO 63017
Telephone: 314-469-PAIN (7246)

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