I occasionally get questions from clients regarding the use of heat vs ice and I wanted to address it. I routinely get clients who injured their back and put heat on it. Even though we think of heat as warm and toasty it actually perpetuates the inflammation cycle. So throwing a heating pad or jumping in the hot tub right after an injury is not the best approach for your body.
Acute injuries, injuries that happen right away and haven't been lingering for a long time can be dealt with using ice massage. This technique allows you to apply ice to the area without freezing your hands or causing frostbite to your skin. The best results happen within 48 hours of the injury.
Get a small paper cup and fill it with water and put it in the freezer. When the water freezes take the cup and peel off enough paper to expose the ice. Apply the ice to the injury in slow circular motions for 10 minutes. If you apply too long you can cause frostbite to the skin. Allow one hour between applications so the skin can warm. Repeat the process four to eight times each day for the first 48 hours. This process keeps the injured area cool and limits inflammation. If you ice massage your injury will get better quicker and you will be in less pain. Finally, you should avoid hot tubs and heat right after a massage since it can cause inflammation and has a dehydrating effect on the body.