Tahoe health tip: Heat or ice — which to use? | SierraSun.com

Tahoe health tip: Heat or ice — which to use?

Dr. Rodney Shoemaker
Special to the Bonanza
Dr. Rodney Shoemaker

When should I use ice and when should I use heat? One of the most common questions asked in a chiropractic office.

What patients really want, is to get out of pain and to be comfortable again. The reason for pain is inflammation. Inflammation is characterized by pain, swelling, heat, redness, joint and muscle stiffness. You do not have pain without inflammation. The sooner your body moves past inflammation, the sooner you will be out of pain.

Treating inflammation is of paramount importance. Think of inflammation as fire. You want to put the fire out as soon as possible. Adding heat is adding fuel to the fire. Ice will smolder the fire and soothe the pain, swelling, heat, redness and stiffness.

Treat the inflammation with ice for 20 minutes as frequently as necessary, even twice an hour. Your skin should be chilled after ice therapy. If there is too much insulation between your body and the ice and your skin and muscle isn’t chilling then the ice needs to have closer contact with your skin.

The role of heat is to increase blood flow to an area and to relax tight muscles. Limit the use of heat to 20 minutes. This does not mean to soak a sprained ankle or strained muscle in a hot tub. You are better off with an ice bath for new injuries or an exacerbation of an old injury.

If all else fails and you don’t remember what to use then do nothing at all. Your body knows perfectly well how to heal. You are better off to do nothing then to put heat on inflamed joints, muscles or skin.

Rodney Shoemaker, DC, works with Incline Chiropractic Natural Health Center, located at 894 Southwood Blvd. in Incline Village. Learn more at inclinechiropractic.com.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User

Health & Wellness

COVID-19 contagion continues, vaccine distribution slows


County Public Health Officer Scott Kellermann said 750 immunizations a day, five days a week — 3,750 vaccines on a weekly basis — should keep the county on track to immunize a large segment of the population by the goal date of June 15.

See more