Ice or Heat-How to Take Care of Your Injury

Most of us keep an ice pack handy in the freezer should an unexpected injury sneak up on us. It’s an old home remedy that, as it turns out, can do a world of good when it comes to reducing swelling and discomfort. In some cases, heat is your best bet. Other times, alternating between the two is the most effective way to go.

So how do you determine which is best? And when should you head to a doctor? We’re here to settle the debate.

When Icing an Injury is best

Applying cold packs or ice is often an effective go-to home therapy for  injuries that cause pain, swelling and/or inflammation. Think: bumps and bangs that pop up after falling or sustaining a minor impact like stubbing your shin or twisting your ankle. According to Healthline, applying cool temperatures to the injury reduces blood flow, which then brings down swelling. Since swelling typically causes pain, it has an added bonus of easing discomfort.

Cold therapy can be delivered in a number of ways. Sticking a wet towel in the freezer for 15 minutes can get the job done, as can reusable cold packs that are available at most stores. If you’re in a pinch, a bag of frozen vegetables can also do the trick. No matter what you use, Prevention suggests using cold therapy for 15 to 20 minutes every one to two hours. It’s also best to do it within 24 to 48 hours of an injury.

When Heat’s a Better Option

While cold therapy restricts blood flow, heat therapy opens it up. As Reader’s Digest reports, research shows that increasing this flow supports healing by delivering more oxygen and nutrients to the injury site. Heat therapy also ups the temperature of deep tissue, which helps with muscle flexibility. Another worthwhile tidbit is that it appears to ease pain.

Heat therapy is generally considered best for chronic muscle pain or persistent discomfort that comes with ailments like arthritis. You can get things rolling at home with a warm bath or heating pad. Medical News Today suggests applying heat to the area for 20 minutes at a time for up to three times a day.

When to Alternate Between Ice and Heat

Right after an injury, cold is generally considered your best bet since it works almost instantly to reduce swelling and pain. Getting ahead of inflammation is the name of the game when you’re trying to keep pain under control. Once the initial swelling begins to go down, you can alternate heat therapy to increase blood flow to the area and, hopefully, help the body heal.

Every injury is different, so there’s really no one-size-fits-all answer. If pain persists or you aren’t sure how to move forward, meeting with a doctor is always best. Pain Stop North Phoenix has a team of experienced pain management specialists on hand to help you assess your injury and get you on the path to healing as soon as possible.


Why You Shouldn’t Crack Your Neck – But a Chiropractor Should

When feeling weighed down by a tight, stiff neck, the temptation to give it a good crack can be overwhelming—but you might want to think twice. If you crack your neck, you could be putting yourself at risk for serious injury.

When it comes to your spine health, taking matters into your own hands is rarely a good idea, especially if you’re unsure of what’s causing your neck pain.

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How to Start Exercising Without Injury

‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. Topping the list year after year is (you guessed it) getting healthy. While a clean-slate perspective can do wonders for your motivation, being too eager will backfire if it leads to injury. Overdoing it in the name of fitness is a recipe for chronic pain—something that’ll surely throw a wrench in your exercise plans.

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trigger point injections

Things to Know Before Pulling the Trigger on Trigger Point Injections

Chances are, you’ve experienced muscle pain at some point or another. All too often, strained, overused muscles lend themselves to inflammation and achiness. In some cases, you may even feel a tender “knot” that’s particularly sore. This is called a trigger point (typically found in the neck, upper back and shoulders), which can actually cause pain beyond this area and into other parts of the body.

While trigger point therapy can do wonders when it comes to easing this pain, attacking the source head-on is sometimes the only way to prompt real and lasting relief. Enter a trigger point injection. Here’s everything you need to know about this game-changing treatment.

What Are Trigger Point Injections?

This is exactly what it sounds like—a localized injection, administered by a licensed medical doctor, delivered right to the trigger point. At Pain Stop North Phoenix, it contains a mix of an anesthetic and low-dose steroid. The first eases the pain, while the latter brings down inflammation. Together, this helps relieve tension so that the muscle can loosen up and finally begin healing. This translates to much-welcomed pain relief. While some patients experience temporary soreness following the injection, it generally comes without side effects.

When Should You Consider a Trigger Point Injection?

If you’re experiencing persistent, chronic pain, it might be worth considering a trigger point injection since it’s a treatment that gets directly to the root of the problem. While it doesn’t hurt to first try less aggressive approaches (i.e. anti-inflammatory medications, massage therapy, etc.), most patients find that when it comes to debilitating pain, sometimes going straight to the source is the most effective course of action. This is precisely why trigger point injections are usually well received by those suffering from conditions like fibromyalgia.

How to Get a Trigger Point Injection

The experienced medical doctors at Pain Stop North Phoenix are no strangers to this kind of therapy. While receiving an injection to such a sensitive part of the body, the last thing you want is someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of this type of pain management. Our team is all about safety, effectiveness, and delivering a pleasant patient experience. And in many cases, one injection is all it takes.

Curious if a trigger point injection is right for you? Pain Stop North Phoenix’s pain management team can answer that question for you with a free consultation and X-rays. If injections aren’t the best way to relieve your pain, they can point you in the right direction.


Foods to Help Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can cause severe pain and greatly impact your quality of life. The foods you eat could make you feel better.

The pain from osteoarthritis comes when the cartilage that cushions the space between bones wears away. It’s often in the hands, spine, knees, and hips and happens with age and overuse. Once the area is bare, the bones rub against each other, causing the pain.

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Season’s Greetings

Thank you for choosing Pain Stop North Phoenix this year.

May the magic and wonder of the holiday season stay with you throughout the coming year.

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