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Heat or Ice?

We are often asked what is better for pain.  The simple answer: ICE. 

Think about if you sprained your ankle and it swelled.  Would you heat it? Typically No.  We more easily recognize that putting heat on a swollen, hot, injured area would not be the best. The idea is similar for pain. There is often inflammation involved in pain and therefore icing produces a better effect. It not only reduces swelling but works as an analgesic (so feels better!).  The preferred amount varies, but 15-20 minutes at time with about 1 hour off in between icings is the sweet spot.  This can be repeated often typically about 3 times a day is a good start, until the inflammation and pain is starting to subside.