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Thursday, June 16, 2011

When to use Hot vs. Cold

I'm getting old.

Last Sunday I was being the cool Mom and playing a mean game of soccer with my kiddo's (3-7 years I remind you) and after about 5 minutes I pulled my right quad muscle just slightly. What the...??? It felt like a charlie-horse at the top of my thigh and so I dropped out of the game and went limping in the house for an ice pack. Not such the cool Mom anymore.

So for the next couple of days I had an ice pack down my pants. This is what it looked like.
I left my head out of the picture since it was day two of no shower and it was ugly. It's pretty sad when I'm driving around with a slightly expired driver's license because I haven't taken the time to get ready this week and I don't want a homely looking photo on my card.

Can you tell which side is my rear? The pockets kinda give it away but if they were gone I'd be rockin' a double butt.

So when do you apply the cold pack versus a hot pad?

Here's your answer...


An acute injury is one that has a sudden onset and pain is felt right away. Often it is caused by a twisting movement, direct blow to the area, or a fall. Ice should be applied a soon as possible to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. Since the cold reduces or slows blood flow to the injured site, ice should be applied as soon as possible to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain.

After approximately 3 days it can be beneficial to alternate between hot and cold treatments. Typically this is done with 10 minutes of cold followed by 10 minutes of heat. The heat will increase the blood flow and aid in tissue repair and when used in conjunction with the cold it double the effect. Just make sure all bleeding has stopped before applying any type of hot pack.

Another benefit of the alternating treatments is to first use heat to loosen up a stiff area before stretching and strengthening a weak area. Then follow up with the cold to reduce any subsequent pain and even making the tissue less pliable. Sometimes a muscle/tendon that is too relaxed from heat can get even more injured.


Chronic injuries do not typically have a sudden onset. Rather they gradually appear and are often brought on by overuse. Also, if an acute injury is not treated appropriately or doesn't heal properly, it can become a chronic injury.

Heat is most often used with chronic injury to help promote blood flow to site and tissue repair. This will allow any tight areas to relax and respond better to stretching Apply heat for 15-20 minutes using a hot pad, hot water bottle, or warm damp towel (damp heat usually gets deeper into the tissue).

Again it can be beneficial to follow up any exercise with a cold pack to reduce any swelling or inflammation to the chronically injured area.

I've got the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay this weekend so I've been rotating hot and cold like crazy for the past 2 days and trying to take things a little easy. I even got runners during my softball games this week. Not my ideal thing to do since running the bases is my favorite part but it's all in the name of racing!


LB said...

OMG, freakin hilarious....looks like a massive FUPA!!!!

Johann said...

Oh my, that is the best front vs back pic I've seen in a long time! Hope you are recovering well. Take care!

myturtlespace said...

Ha Ha, This was funny... I had to take a second look at your front butt! Thanks for sharing your advice.

myturtlespace said...


Hey do you know much about knee pain..... My doctor says...


Chondromalacia (pronounced KON-dro-mah-LAY-she-ah), also called chondromalacia patellae, refers to softening of the articular cartilage of the kneecap. This disorder occurs most often in young adults and can be caused by injury, overuse, misalignment of the patella, or muscle weakness. Instead of gliding smoothly across the lower end of the thigh bone, the kneecap rubs against it, thereby roughening the cartilage underneath the kneecap. The damage may range from a slightly abnormal surface of the cartilage to a surface that has been worn away to the bone. Chondromalacia related to injury occurs when a blow to the kneecap tears off either a small piece of cartilage or a large fragment containing a piece of bone (osteochondral fracture).


The most frequent symptom of chondromalacia is a dull pain around or under the kneecap that worsens when walking down stairs or hills. A person may also feel pain when climbing stairs or when the knee bears weight as it straightens. The disorder is common in runners and is also seen in skiers, cyclists, and soccer players.

..... I just started running again after taking about two plus months off.....and everyday it seems to get a little worse. Just an achey feeling around the knee cap that is steady. My MRI several month ago when I had severe pain, showed no tear of the meniscus. Just wondering if you've had any experiences where you might have some additional input.

I like your blog!



Sara said...

Thank you for the info on injuries - very helpful! I hope your quad feels better soon. :) Great pictures! ;)