Campus Commons PT - March 2022

How to Treat Injuries at Home ICE OR HEAT?


Whenever we suffer an injury that doesn’t require a doctor visit, we are usually told to do one of two things: ice the area or apply heat to it.

If you have chronic pain, it’s best to apply heat to that area. This pain can tell you that your body hasn’t fully healed from the injury. You can use heat for muscle pain or soreness, stiff joints, arthritis, and recurring injuries.

Different injuries require different treatments. For example, applying heat to an ankle sprain will not help as much as applying ice. Let’s look at which injuries require heat or ice and how it relieves pain or reduces swelling. INJURIES YOU SHOULD APPLY ICE TO You want to apply ice to acute or short-term injuries. Acute injuries consist of ankle or knee sprains, muscle or joint sprains, red or swollen body parts, and pain after an exercise. Icing an area will lower the amount of swelling you have and make the healing process quicker. Be sure to limit icing sessions to 20 minutes. Over-icing can irritate your skin or cause tissue damage. If you have an ice pack or frozen packages in your freezer, you can use those to treat the painful areas. If not, you can put ice in a bag. Wrap it or any other item you’re using in a paper towel or washcloth before applying it to your skin. You should continue to ice your injury for the next two days.

Applying heat allows your blood vessels to expand and help your muscles relax. Only use heat in 20-minute increments and don’t sleep with any heating treatment. This can cause blisters, irritation, and maybe burns. You can use heat for 2–3 days after the injury occurs. Use a heating pad or a hot, wet towel, or take a hot shower or bath to relieve pain. An easy way to determine if you need to ice or heat an area is this: If it’s swollen, apply ice. If it’s stiff, use heat. But if you’re unsure if you should use ice or heat, or if the

pain is still occurring after treatment, contact your PT for assistance. They will provide you with further treatment options to help you with your discomforts.

Adding More Movement to Your Daily Routine

SWAP OUT YOUR OFFICE CHAIR In our current situation, more Americans are working from home than ever before. This means more people are sitting in their homes, but you have healthier seating options! Sitting on an exercise ball will help relieve back pain and improve your posture. You can do simple mobility stretches while on the ball to improve mobility in your neck, pelvis, and spine. You can also swap out your sitting desk for a standing desk and do away with an office chair altogether. This can help limit your time spent sitting every day.

We often hear that exercise and movement are essential in creating healthier lifestyles, but many of us have difficulty finding time for a quick workout. Between work, family, and entertainment, there’s little room for exercise each day. Thankfully, you can make a few decisions every day to incorporate more exercise and movement into your daily routine, and you don’t even have to go to the gym!

TAKE THE STAIRS When you go into a multistory building, whether it’s for work or simply a visit to the mall, are you more likely to take the stairs or the elevator/ escalator? Taking the stairs can have amazing benefits for your health. It will increase your heart rate, help your balance, and improve your lower-extremity strength. You may even reach your destination quicker by taking the stairs than you would by taking the elevator.

PARK FURTHER AWAY When you’re heading to work or the grocery store, where do you normally park? Do you park in the first available spot you see or do you wait for a spot close to the entrance? If you’re waiting for a close spot, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It might not seem like much, but adding extra steps by walking to a parking spot further away adds up over time. If you’re struggling to get more movement in your day, try this easy tip. 2

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