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If you work hard and play hard, you've undoubtedly experienced nagging injuries like sprains and strains. And while rest is always a key ingredient to an athlete's return to health, applying ice and/or heat is also important to the healing process.
The proper use of heating and icing can get you back on the field more quickly, but most athletes don't know when to apply which healing method—or even what type of injury needs heat or ice. Making matters worse, according to a recent article by Dr. Roger P. Smith, applying heat or ice at the wrong time can actually be counterproductive to the healing process.
Dr. Smith recommends applying ice to acute injuries like recent sprains or muscle pulls, to help reduce swelling, bruising and discomfort. He recommends heat for chronic, long-lasting injuries like lower back tightness or soreness. Check out the full article on active.com for all of Dr. Smith's guidelines on when and how to use ice and heat most effectively.
Also, learn about the other day-to-day benefits that result from regular cold therapy with this recent article from the latest issue of STACK magazine.