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Q.

Is it better to apply heat or cold to sore muscles after stenuous exercise?


Related Topics: Muscle, Coldness, Exercise
 
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Everything I have read says cold.  If there is tissue damage, the cold constricts blood flow, which reduces spread of cellular components which can cause rupture of nearby cells, making the injury worse and longer to heal.


Heat is not usually applied to an injury until 72 hours have passed. This is to increase circulation and promote healing.

More recent research shows movement of skeletal muscles produces hormone-like substances that promote and speed healing of damaged or inflamed tissues throughout the body. So if you can move, do.  

Lastly, a small meal of four parts carbs and one part protein within 90 minutes of exercise will help speed muscle recovery.  The body will use that energy and protein to quickly try to re-construct those damaged tissues.

This information is from exercise physiology.

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Ice is typically among the first thing to do in the recovery process after strenuous exercise. Icing your muscles helps to reduce pain and decrease swelling and inflammation. Ice causes your blood vessels to narrow, which will reduce your blood flow to the muscle or injured area.

Never place ice directly on your skin, however. Wrap an ice pack around a thin cloth and place on the affected muscle for ten minutes at a time. You can use ice multiple times per day for a few days after exercise, but make sure to allow for your skin to return to room temperature before icing after each 10 minute interval.

Heat is typically applied to uscles or injuries that do not have swelling or inflammation. Heat will cause your blood vessels to expand, which improves circulation and allows more blood to go to the affected area. Heat can be useful for chronic injuries and muscle soreness or it can be used before exercise to stimulate blood flow and help prepare the muscle for exercise. Heat should also not be directly applied to skin and should be used for short 10-15 minute intervals.

Always check with your doctor before starting treatment of an injury, especially if the condition worsens or fails to improve.

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Within the first few days of an injury ice can help the process of healing.

 

Applying ice to injured tissue can cause blood vessels to shrink and this makes them less capable of releasing chemicals that lead to swelling, inflammation, and pain.

 

After a few days, it probably best to apply heat to sore muscles. This makes muscle spasms less likely and relaxes injured muscles. <o:p></o:p>

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However, because the events behind every injury are different speak with your doctor first.<o:p></o:p>

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I have just spent the last 6 weeks in physical therapy. They always apply heat OR have me get on a bike to heat up my muscles for 15 minutes before I go through any table massage work. Next I do all my exercises then they end the session with 10 minutes of ice.

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Somtimes what contributes to soreness is

1) Lack of warm-up, so insuffcicient oxygen was available to fuel the work.

and

2) Lack of cooldown, which will help the muscles recover by completing any partial combustion of sugars for energy, leaving residual metabolites such as one feels with the muscle burn of working beyond anerobic threshold.

Anerobic threshold can be increased through more careful training.

I can exercise well beyond my predicted 100% of age heart rate for periods of 10, 20 and 30 minutes or more 

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