Seattle Chiropractor Discusses When to Use Ice vs Heat for Treatment of an Injury

Hi, I’m Dr. Zapata with Emerald City Spinal Care. I am a chiropractor in Seattle, and I’m here today to share another Tip of the Week. This week, we are going to be talking about Ice vs Heat.

I will often time get asked, when is it appropriate to use ice versus heat when you are experiencing pain. If you are experiencing pain that is very acute, lets say that you’ve had pain for a day or two, ice is important to use to try and keep the swelling down as much as possible. If you are going to use ice, I recommend using it for no more than 20 minutes at a time. The ice is going to help constrict blood vessels and keep the swelling down as much as possible. When you are experiencing acute pain, that is very important.

Heat, on the other hand, I recommend people use if they are experiencing pain for an extended period of time. Let’s say that you have been experiencing pain for more than 3 days. In this case, using heat may be appropriate. Often times, people will experience a lot of tightness and tension, and heat, on those really tight and tense muscles, can actually help promote healing. The heat will bring more blood into an area…more blood and oxygen into tissues to allow them to heal, and also help pull out any lactic acid and toxins from muscles. So, if you are going to use heat, I recommend using it for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

In those experiences where you are experiencing pain for a week or longer in Seattle, it may be appropriate for you to use both ice and heat. I would recommending starting with ice first, for about 20 minutes. Then, follow that up immediately with heat for 20 minutes. Then, ice again immediately after that for 20 minutes, and see how you feel at the end of an hour.

That’s it for this Tip of the Week, I hope you found it helpful! For more original content, be sure to subscribe to our You Tube channel or follow us on Facebook. For everyone here at Emerald City Spinal Care in Seattle, thank you and have an amazing week!

- Dr. Zapata and the Emerald City Spinal Care Team in Seattle WA


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2:00pm - 6:00pm

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2:00pm - 6:00pm

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Emerald City Spinal Care
1222 East Madison Street Suite D
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 204-8255