In 2015 we celebrated 20 years of serving Loveland and Fort Collins. Our practice has grown from care by a team of two (husband and wife) chiropractors to an integrated healthcare clinic offering chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, and massage. To this day our mission remains strong: To educate, serve, and inspire well-being, one individual at a time.
To celebrate, here’s a recap of one of our all-time favorite posts from Dr. Scott that answers a common question: Ice or heat for back pain?
“I get this question almost daily in my practice. The short answer is ice. Why? Well, it all boils down to neuroanatomy and how the sensations of cold and heat are delivered to the brain. It also has to do with inflammation and inflammatory enzymes which is a routine and primary cause of pain. Let’s discuss how inflammation works on a simple level.
First, injury= damaged tissue, and inflammatory enzymes (cytokines) released at the site of injury. This opens blood vessels to rush healing oxygen and nutrition to the site. This reaction also causes swelling and pain!
Second, temperature and pain both use the spinothalamic tract to communicate both types of sensations (temperature/pain) to the brain. Using heat or ice essentially “masks” the pain in delivery to the brain, but ice will cause your vessels to constrict, at least initially, to stop swelling. The action of dilation to constriction will flush the injury and many protein causing pain chemicals will be removed. Cold also will take your pain level up until numbness takes hold. This makes it much harder to over-ice your injury…not so with heat.
Using a heating pad increases the vasodilation and swelling to the injury site–causing more damage. It feels ‘good’ because you are over-riding or confusing your brain to feel only heat and not pain due to the same neurologic pathway.
So I always recommend my patients to ice until numb (about 20 mins) twice daily with injury. Heating does work usually a day or two post-injury. You may then use a hot Epsom salts bath or hot shower.”
Dr. Trenton Scott, D.C., Dipl.Ac., graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1994 and has been practicing ever since. In 1995, he founded Scott Family Health in Loveland, CO, alongside his wife, Dr. Gina Scott. Over the past twenty years, he has developed our clinic to include chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy and massage therapy services, with the highest expectations for all doctors and practitioners on staff, and the mission to educate, serve and inspire well-being, one individual at a time.