Ice or Heat?

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: A common question that I get is “When do I use ice and when do I use heat?” Most people have been told to use ice for the first 24, 48, or 72 hours and then to switch to heat from their coach or parent. This works for simple sports injuries, but isn’t always the best for every situation. 

First, you need to know WHY you are using the ice or heat to begin with. 

Ice or Heat?

Ice is good for when there is swelling or inflammation from an injury or aggravation. The vasoconstriction from the ice will help reduce the fluid in an area and help to prevent swelling of the affected area. Don’t use ice for more than 20 minutes as it can injure areas with poor circulation and cause tissue damage.

Heat brings more blood to an area which helps to relax the muscles, reduce joint stiffness, and ease muscle spasms. This is good for sore and achy muscles. Don’t use heat on an open wound or cut as it can cause more bleeding.

An easy way to remember which one to use is “If you can point to a specific area and it is painful, then use ice. If you can’t find a specific area that is painful, but an area is sore and achy, use heat.”

If you are in doubt, use ice. 😉

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at www.BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

Things That You Can Do To Prevent Your Pain From Returning

Houston Chiropractor Comments: After you take the time and energy to correct your spinal problems and get out of pain, you want to keep it that way. Patients want a way to stay active without continued discomfort. Just like when you go to the dentist and get a cavity fixed, they remind you to brush and floss to help prevent future cavities. For your spine it is stretching and exercise.

Stretching

When patients ask what is the number one thing that they could do to prevent hurting their spine or joints in the future, I say stretching. Just like the old adage that if you don’t use it you lose it. We need to continually take our joints thru their full range of motion. The older that we get the less we typically move. We spend most of our time seated, either in our car, at our desk or on our couch with our neck forward. This leads to joint restrictions and possible adhesions. Instead, be more child-like with your motion and move in different directions than normal. You should do some specific stretching every day. A common neck stretch takes 1 minute to go thru all of the different motions, low back stretches take approximately 3 minutes, wrist/forearm stretches for computer takes 1 minute. These stretches and more are located on our website www.beecherchiropractic.com /videos/ or on YouTube at Beecher Chiropractic. Yoga can also be very beneficial as well as Pilates. 

You must also do some activity to strengthen your core support muscles. For your back, the best exercise is planks. It doesn’t matter what type of plank you do; they all have different areas that they address. If you cannot do a full plank, you can do it on your knees or even leaning on counter or wall. The neck will benefit from any type of isometric exercise. You can either press your head in to the palm of your hand in each direction or you can fold up a towel, place it against the wall and lean your head in to it. The more active you are, the more that you will use different muscles.

Just remember to stretch and exercise every day in some way. Your spine and joints will appreciate it.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at www.BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below! 

Best Exercise to Prevent Back Pain

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: One thing that I have learned from being a chiropractor for almost 30 years is that if the stretches and exercises that you give people take more than a few minutes, they will not do them. I have covered the stretches in previous blogs as well as in my YouTube videos, but I haven’t discussed the best exercise to prevent back pain. Doing the stretches and exercise will greatly reduce the likelihood of you having your back pain return.

Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

The best exercise is the plank. The easiest form of the plank is to get in a push-up position, but rest on your forearms instead of your palms. Ultimately you want to be able to hold this position for 1 minute. If you can not do 1 minute yet, hold it for 10 seconds and the rest for 5-10 seconds. Then hold it for another 10 seconds and keep repeating until you reach 1 minute. This is an exercise where proper form matters more than the length of time. If you have poor form and allow your back to sag it can actually aggravate your back pain. If you get bored with doing the simple plank there are a variety of modifications that you can do to challenge you.

The key thing is to just do it. Don’t do the plank periodically. Everyday you should stretch, plank and brush your teeth. 😊
Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at www.BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!