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Health Tip: Do I Heat or Ice My Sprain?

Both will help it heal

(HealthDay News) -- If you have a sprain, you may be wondering if you should heat it or ice it to help it heal and reduce pain and swelling.

The University of Puget Sound says both are effective, and can be used independently or alternated.

Heat will relax the muscles and increase blood flow. Heat can be applied to the injury as long and as often as is comfortable, but should be used at least two to three times per day.

Moist heat is more effective than dry heat, so a hot bath or shower, or warm moist towel should prove effective.

Ice will reduce pain and swelling by numbing the area. You should ice the injury at least twice a day, for about 15 minutes at a time.

You can either buy pre-made ice packs, or put ice cubes in a plastic bag. Be sure to place a towel over the sprain before applying the ice pack.

Consumer News