I discuss ice vs heat with virtually every new patient.
Sometimes after the first couple of adjustments a patient may experience increased soreness. I liken it to starting a new workout program when someone is out of shape, initially it causes a whole lot of soreness, pain, and discomfort. Does this discomfort mean that the workout is bad for you? No. In fact it is very much the opposite. I tell all of my patients that this is part of the initial change process, it is very common, and it will pass. In the mean time I recommend ice for twenty minutes on and forty minutes off. Ice is a natural anti-inflammatory agent, it pushes out inflammation, and numbs up the area providing pain relief. Ice is typically necessary between one and five days after a car accident and after the first couple of adjustments.
After the initial soreness phase of care, patients typically do better with heat. Heat opens up (dilates) blood vessels causing increased blood flow to the muscles and surrounding soft tissues. Increased blood flow brings in oxygen and nutrients to the muscle, helping to promote accelerated healing. Heat also helps to alleviate muscle tension and tightness, increasing flexibility, and causing the patient to feel better. I recommend people use heat in twenty to thirty minute increments, and use a moist heat. We give a standard microwave gel heating pad to our new patients and tell them to run a washcloth under hot water, put that over the desired area, and cover it with the heating pad creating moist heat.
For more detailed information on when to use ice as opposed to heat see my attached video, or contact our office located in the Walmart shopping center in west Charlotte NC on Wilkinson Blvd.
Yours for better health,
Dr. Ryan Giel