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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Heat or Ice?

Let me preface this post by saying "I am not a doctor." I don't pretend to know medicine in any way, shape or form. I can ONLY speak from personal experience and/or anecdotally. I read a lot. I study a lot. But whatever I say cannot and should not be construed as medical advice.

That being said, I want to talk about heat and ice.

Maisie Williams dancing (photo courtesy Geekmundo.net)

"A Dance of Fire and Ice," my homage to Game of Thrones' writer, George RR Martin

If you are a dancer, heat and ice are your best friends. They are the cheapest and easiest and most organic forms of pain control. I'm a big fan of Advil and use it as necessary but my go-to will always be heat and ice.

Generally speaking, ice is used immediately after an acute injury or activity while heat is used before activity and 24 hours after an acute injury. There are times when you can use either heat or ice, depending upon which is preferable to you and those times are with "itises" - tendonitis, arthritis, etc. - or with pinched nerves.

Some examples:

--You twist your ankle coming down from a jump. You use ice immediately.
--You sleep "funny" and wake up with a stiff neck in the morning. Get out the heating pad.
--Your ankle is crunchy and range of motion is limited due to Achilles tendonitis. Use what feels good, typically heat before activity and ice after.

Other non-medical treatments I like for pain control and anti-inflammation:

1. Arnica in gel or cream form (some also take this orally which works like Advil) after an injury to control bruising and inflammation
2. Ben-Gay and other menthol-based analgesic creams before exercise
3. Capsaicin patches that have an adhesive backing and can be trimmed to fit the area needed, before exercise
4. Instant cold packs for after an injury, can be used as an emergency ice pack because they are "chemical" ice

Put the above 4 items in your dance bag and you'll be ready for anything! (Temporarily, of course, until you can get yourself to a doctor!)

Happy dancing~

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