Choosing the Right Therapy

Use the R.I.C.E. treatment method for minor injuries, such as strains, sprains, joint aches, and other soft tissue injuries where swelling occurs. Always consult your health care provider regarding any treatment of injury. Rest: Rest the injured area for the first 24-72 hours following injury. Ice: Alternate 20 minutes of cold therapy (see below) with a 20 minute break. Repeat this 3-4 times daily. Compression: Apply mild pressure to the area with a wrap or extremity brace to reduce swelling. Elevation: Keep the injured body part elevated, above the level of your heart, as much as possible during the first 72 hours after injury.

Cold Therapy
Cold should always be applied for the first 72 hours following any type of acute injury such as an ankle sprain, after surgery or with any type of swelling. Cold works by constricting the blood vessels, restricting the flow of blood to the affected area. It also numbs the nerve endings helping to dull any pain associated with the injury.

Heat Therapy
Heat therapy should be used for chronic issues such as muscle discomfort and stiffness. Heat opens up the blood vessels allowing blood to flow freely to the affected area. This increases circulation, delivering oxygen and nutrients and removing waste from sore, tired or injured muscles. Alternate 20 minutes of heat therapy with a 20 minute break. Repeat 3-4 times daily until stiffness and soreness subsides. Do not use heat therapy on areas with poor circulation, decreased sensation or areas with bruising or swelling.

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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