So I will preface this by saying I've heard a couple of things that I will list out for legibility:
- "Ice should be used for Acute injuries and Heat for Chronic injuries"
- "Ice restricts blood flow therefore slows healing while Heat enhances blood flow and immune response."
For the sake of argument lets say an Acute Injury is defined by the following:
- Sharp well-defined pain upon using or pressing area
- Constantly present
- Possible bleeding/bruising
- Occurred within the past week
Lets also say a Chronic Injury is defined as:
- Dull pain upon using or pressing area that becomes sharp with prolonged agitation
- Lasting longer than a week
- Comes and goes depending on activity
- No bleeding/bruising present
Looking at such cases what has research shown is the most effective way of tackling such injuries? I would guess that they are treated differently seeing as they are considered different types of injury.
If two patients sprained their left ankle in the exact same manner I imagine the one who sprained his yesterday will be treated differently than the one still experiencing problems from a month old sprain.
Since this is something that does cover a broad spectrum of issues I will coalesce it into four relatively specific questions of what I am looking for.
Are there studies/data showing that:
- Heat improves healing response for injuries, while Cold reduces it.
- Icing acute injuries gives better outcome than heating or doing nothing at all.
- Heating chronic injuries gives better outcome than icing or doing nothing at all.
- The RICE method is truly effective.
For simplicity sake consider the question of this post to be: "Are there any conventional theories/study/data that prove whether Ice or Heat is better for injury treatment?"
EDIT: For clarity I should note I am not asking if pain is reduced but the underlying issue causing the pain. I am looking for studies/data showing what is the best treatment for enabling recovery.