This programme is really about stretching for those of you chained to your desk all day, so below are a few examples.
But, pain is a sign of inflammation. Ice (when mentioning ice here, cold therapy is the same thing) helps reduce inflammation whereas heat can add to the inflammation. Therefore, ice should be appiled to an acute injury or if you have pain – you should never heat an acute injury. During an acute injury, there will be an inflammatory response, heat is generated as part of that inflammatory response, so use ice to calm down the reaction.
Even if there hasn’t been an “injury” but your neck / shoulder/ back feel painful AND stiff from laptop overuse (classic example!) then follow the ice protocol first until the pain goes, also GENTLY stretch during this period to help release muscle tension / stiffness. Once the pain goes, switch to heat and continue stretching.
The above can be a classic “build up” issue and often pain occurs when turning the neck or moving the shoulder or back – usually there hasn’t been any particular trauma. However, inflammation will likely be present, so use this ice protocol.
- Ice every 1-2 hours for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Repeat daily until the pain goes.
- This may take several days.
Heat is great for muscles and joints that feel stiff. So, if you feel achy or stiff then apply heat to warm up the area and also gently stretch. Generally, heat is used for chronic issues to increase mobility.
Muscles particularly like heat. For example, when you exercise heat is generated and with that warmth you feel more mobile and flexible.
But, always reduce the pain first with ice before switching to heat to increase blood flow and help mobilisation.