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Heat or Ice?

By September 10, 2021No Comments

You’ve worked hard all week and now you are sore.  Muscle are sore from all those squats and lunges, and maybe your knees are a little tender to movement or touch.  You are going to recover for a few days.  But, can you speed up recovery?  What should you do for those sore muscles and achy joints?  Is heat better?  Should you apply an ice pack?  

Old Advice: RICE

We are all familiar with RICE.  Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  That is the old suggestion for recovery from an injury or to help sore muscles and joints.  However, recent studies are showing that RICE may not be the best path for you.  Alternatively, heat may actually help you recover faster.  The theory is that pain and inflammation in your body is caused by your body trying to repair itself.  Thus, if you apply ice, you are actually slowing down your body’s efforts.  Instead, the suggestion is to apply heat to help you body speed up repair.  So, should be abandon RICE?  Not necessarily.  

New Advice

When you are considering Ice vs Heat, think about it in this way:

Heat:  will assist with speeding up blood flow and help increase mobility
Ice:  will reduce swelling and pain 

Therefore, both have their advantages.  If you have sore muscles, apply some ice initially to reduce swelling and pain.  Then, add some heat to speed up blood flow to flush the soreness.  Do you have a knot in your back?  Apply some heat to help blood flow push our the crap causing the knot.  Do you have achy knees after so many squats, rotate the heat and ice so you can reduce swelling, reduce pain, but also help the body send good blood to the joint to repair it.  

When it comes to Ice and Heat, it’s looking like there is not “BEST” practice.  Both have their advantages.  So, use both.  If you are still confused, or have questions about your specific recovery needs, let us know.  We are happy to help.