Heat vs. RICE

Gentle PSA from your friendly local neighborhood massage therapist: if you are in an accident of any kind and your neck/ankle/ribs/shoulder/whatever is feeling sore, do not put heat on it. Acute injuries often create inflammation as the body tries to deal with whatever has happened; heat brings blood to an area, which can drastically increase inflammation in acute injuries and actually make the injury much worse. (The reverse is true in chronic injuries, which often result in ischemia or a lack of blood in the injured area.) If you’re injured, RICE for the first 48 hours (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate). Even after the first 48, I’d consult a professional before switching to heat.

This message brought to you by a string of clients who all presented with some variation of, ‘Oh, I was in a car accident last week, but I’ve been putting a hot pack on my neck–that’s supposed to help, right?’