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Are you confused about when to apply heat or cold to an area you are feeling pain in? Staff at the Family Chiropractic and Spinal Health Care Center in Ramsey are standing by ready to guide you towards the best choice for relief.

Both therapies cut down on pain but there are important differences. According to Advance for Nurses, “hot therapy opens blood vessels, which increase blood flow and relaxes muscles and cold therapy shuts down the blood flow to the injury, which reduces swelling”. Neither therapy treatment should be applied for more than 15-20 minutes unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider. Neither treatment should be applied directly to the skin – use a covered heating pad or wrap in a towel. One should check the skin frequently to avoid burns no matter which therapy you apply.

There are a few standard recommendations we want to share with you. For example, after a pulled muscle, joint sprain or injury with a swelling, use cold therapy for the first 48-72 hours before switching to heat. Burns benefit from cold and heat should not be used for swellings or open wounds or on stiches. Cold helps minimize inflammation.

“I often advise our patients in both the Bergen and Passaic county offices to ice up after receiving an adjustment for an already irritated condition such as back pain,” said Dr. Moe Abtahi, D.C. “We are here to help you find the balance in your relief and will provide the recommendation appropriate to your concern.”