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Steve Dischiavi's Health Tip

Thursday, 03.30.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Steve Dischiavi\'s Health Tip

Ice vs. Heat

When one of the Panther players goes down with an injury, heat and/or ice is always a part of the treatment program...read on to find out how the pros know when to apply heat or ice.

Acute and Chronic Injuries

There are two basic types of athletic injuries: acute and chronic. Acute injuries are sudden, sharp, traumatic injuries with a rapid onset (within 48 hours) and possibly severe pain. Typically, acute injuries result from some sort of trauma such as a fall, sprain, or other impact.

Chronic injuries are slow to develop, can come and go, and may cause dull pain or soreness. They are often the result of overuse but sometimes develop when an acute injury is left untreated.

Acute injuries are usually easy to identify because of the sudden onset. Signs and symptoms include pain, tenderness, redness, skin that may be warm to the touch, swelling and inflammation. If you have swelling, you have an acute injury.

Cold Therapy

Cold therapy with ice is the best immediate treatment for acute injuries because it can reduce swelling and pain. Ice is a vasoconstrictor (causes the blood vessels to narrow) and it limits bleeding at the injury site. Apply ice to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Allow the skin temperature to return to normal before icing a second or third time. You can ice an acute injury several times a day.

Cold therapy is also helpful in treating some overuse injuries or chronic pain in athletes. An athlete who has chronic knee pain that increases after running may want to ice the injured area after each run to reduce or prevent inflammation. Never ice a chronic injury before exercise.

The best way to ice an injury is with a high quality ice pack that conforms to the body part being iced. You can also get good results from a bag of frozen peas, ice massage with water frozen in a dixie cup (peel the cup down as the ice melts) or a basic bag of ice.

Heat Therapy

Heat is generally used for chronic injuries or injuries that have no inflammation. Sore, stiff, nagging muscle or joint pain is ideal for the use of heat therapy. Athletes with chronic pain or injuries may use heat therapy before exercise to increase the elasticity of joint connective tissues and to stimulate blood flow. Heat can also help relax tight or spasmed mucsles. Do not apply heat after exercise.

Because heat increases circulation and raises skin temperature you should not apply heat to acute injuries or injuries that show signs of inflammation. Safely apply heat to an injury 15 to 20 minutes at a time and use enough layers between your skin and the heating source to prevent burns. Moist heat is best so you could try using a hot wet towel. Specialty hot packs can be purchased or you may use a heating pad. Never leave heating pads on for more than 20 minutes at a time or while sleeping.

Good Luck and remember: an educated mind leads to a healthier body.

Because some injuries can be serious, you should see your doctor if your injury does not improve or gets worse within 48 hours.

Steve Dischiavi, MPT, ATC, MTC, CSCS

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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