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Posted on 03-09-2015

Ice or Heat Following Baltimore Car Accidents?

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends a lot of time treating injured patients following Baltimore car accidents I see many patients that suffer from headaches, neck pain, and back pain. I get asked frequently what is the best course of treatment to help with pain immediately following the Baltimore auto accident.

Generally speaking the more recent an injury is, the best modality of choice is ice. Ice helps to constrict blood vessels, decrease swelling and help numb the topical pain associated with an acute injury. Ice can be applied via topical ice packs or even a bag of peas from the freezer. Care should be used to not put ice directly on the skin because it can cause frostbite if left in place for too long. Most commercially available ice packs thaw out after about 20-30 minutes and help to avoid the possibility of frost bite. Here we offer all new patients ice packs for use at home to help soothe their aches and pains between visits.

Heat is useful for more chronic aches and pains. Typically those patients whose pain is ongoing who wake up stiff, sore, and achy do better with heat. It helps to loosen stiff muscles, increased blood flow and increase ranges of motion. This is why most people tend to feel more awake and ready to go following a warm shower in the morning. Some people with chronic pain tell me that they like to sleep on a hot pack. I warn against this since it is possible to suffer second and third degree burns as you sleep since the body's ability to feel sensation changes as we sleep. If you must sleep with a hot pack there are commercially available hot packs with timers that turn off after 20-30 minutes.

Although there is no hard and fast rule, I tend to recommend ice to control soreness if an acute injury has been present for less than 72 hours. After 72 hours I prefer to use heat. These are just general guidelines and there are no hard and fast rules.

Self care with heat or ice is an excellent way to help soothe pain between visits. Each new patient at Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic is given a mixed use heat or ice pack that can frozen or placed in a microwave to help with pain. This is beneficial for both acutely injured patients in Baltimore auto accidents as well as patients with chronic pain from everyday life.

If you, or someone you know requires treatment for neck and back pain please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500.


Dr. Gulitz

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