Should I Ice or Should I Heat?

After posting about inflammation and swelling last week, I had a few questions about icing or heating muscle pains and injuries and how that interacts with the inflammatory process. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a good answer. Medical professionals seem quite divided on when to ice an injury and when to heat an injury. PubMed, a repository of peer reviewed science journal articles, shows a significant number of published papers with the conclusion that icing helps, icing is detrimental, or that icing has no effect, along with heating an injury helps, heating an injury does not help, and that heating an injury has no effect. So, at this point in time, it seems as though the jury is still deliberating on this case. Personally, I am in the pro-icing camp for specific injuries and in the pro-heating camp for general aches and pains. Basically my recommendation is to try something and see how your body reacts--icing, heating, or both.

How much body heat do you actually lose from your head?

Have you heard somebody (probably your mom) tell you to put a hat on because you lose a significant percentage of body heat out your head alone? I’ve heard that number quoted from 50-90%. When I asked, “Why do you lose so much heat out your head?” I got an answer along the lines of “Your brain needs lots of oxygen and the blood takes it there and so there is lots of blood in your head, which lets all of your heat out.” That reasoning is not true and wearing a hat isn’t as crucial as Mom implies it to be. Although you don’t lose the majority of body heat out your head, it is still prudent to wear a hat when it is cold, just like you wear pants and long sleeves when it is cold. Wear a hat, it feels nice.