Wednesday, June 29

Injured? Should you use ice or a heating pad for your pain?

There are a whopping 35 million visits to emergency departments across the country annually for injuries. A majority of these are musculoskeletal injuries managed with X-ray imaging, splinting and possible orthopedic surgery consults. Most acute pain from stable fractures and sprains can be managed with standard medication like acetaminophen, ibuprofen and narcotics.

The larger debate among emergency physicians and orthopedic surgeons centers is around which additional non-pharmacological treatment strategy is better for pain reduction and healing – cold or heat therapy.

There is limited data comparing the two modalities in head-to-head trials. individually, both have demonstrated reduction in acute pain in small studies. I’ve found that most doctors will recommend patients use one or the other based on their own anecdotal experience.

Know before you go:The dos and don’ts of going to the ER

Do you suffer from lower back pain? It may be time to think outside the medicine cabinet

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