The weather is getting warmer and we are starting to spend more time outdoors. Yard work, hiking, biking (see previous post) and more physical activities beckon for our attention. Be careful and don't overdo. If possible, ease into all the outside things you want to do. If you find yourself with any muscle strains or pulls, remember:
HEAT can hurt!
When your body is hurting, it feels comforting to put a hot water bottle or a heating pad on the sore areas. But it may not always be a great idea. Heat can aggravate your injuries and prolong your pain. When should you use heat and when should you use ice? If you're ever in doubt, use ice. Here are some general guidelines:
Use Ice if:
Why ice? Ice will reduce inflammation and decrease the time it takes the injury to heal. It also has an anesthetic effect that will lessen your pain and relax muscle spasms.
Use Heat if:
Why heat? In these cases, there's no danger of aggravating inflammation. The heat will relax your muscles and help improve your circulation.