ice therapy cold therapy heat cold therapy pain relief

Should I Ice or Heat my Injury for Relief?

If there’s one thing that we’re familiar with, it’s knowing how to handle and manage injuries and pain. We know that sometimes, you just need quick and immediate relief – whether it’s from a fresh injury or a long-term issue. Traditional approaches to treating injuries include icing and heating, which are still both very useful. But cold and heat therapy play two different roles in treatment. Continue reading to find out more about when to heat or ice your injury.

When should I ice my injury?

Cold therapy or icing is ideal for “new” injuries. By “new,” we are referring to an injury that’s less than 6 weeks old. It can also work wonders on injuries that occurred within the last 48 hours. So if you’re suffering from an acute injury, like a pulled muscle, bursitis, a sprain or tendinitis, consider putting ice on it. Ice can also help alleviate the “throbbing” types of headaches.

What does ice do to the body?

Cold packs reduce blood flow and restrict chemical reactions in the area by constricting blood vessels. The goal is to reduce swelling, inflammation and pain.

The other benefit of icing an injury is that it can numb the area, bringing on much-needed relief.

How do I ice an injury properly? 

Begin by taking an ice pack (or even a bag of frozen peas if you need to be crafty) and wrap it in a thin or light towel. We don’t recommend putting the pack directly on the injury, as a precaution to protect your skin.

Apply the ice pack on the injured or affected area on and off throughout the day for about 20 minutes each time. Move the ice pack around the area during the 20-minutes. Wait a few or a couple hours being reapplying.

When should I heat my injury?

Heat therapy generally works best for chronic injuries, including arthritis pain and chronic back pain, and pain that lingers after sprains and other injuries. The important point to note is to not use it during the inflammation stage, as it can cause added inflammation and hinder the recovery process. And, if you have a headache that is triggered by muscle spasms, heat therapy may bring you relief as well.

What does heat do to the body?

Heat essentially works in the opposite manner as cold therapy. It relaxes the joints and muscles and provides relief for both stiffness and spasms by expanding the blood vessels. This allows for greater blood flow and improved nutrient and oxygen delivery to the injured area.

How do I heat an injury properly?

As with cold therapy, protect your skin by using a light towel between yourself and the heating pad or heating bottle. You can also dampen a towel with warm water and use that instead. Some have also found relief with warm steamy baths.

Once again, don’t exceed the 20-minute mark and don’t reapply the heat until the spot has had a chance to completely cool.

For more help in relieving your acute or chronic pain, you can visit our chiropractic clinic in Spokane Valley. In the meantime, using cold and heat therapy is an effective way to find relief for your symptoms. Remember, cold is best for new or acute injuries, and heat is best for chronic ones!

Call Summit Chiropractic and Sports Institute at (509) 922-1909 for more information!

man with bad and good posture

The Importance of Good Posture

Good posture is one of the most important things you can do for your body. When you have good posture your muscles, bones and joints are aligned perfectly and can function as they should. If you fail to maintain good posture, you may find yourself dealing with chronic back pain, neck pain and overall fatigue. Below is an overview of the importance of good posture and how it can help you feel your best.

Causes of Bad Posture

Most people are unaware of how poor their posture actually is. While many different factors can lead to poor posture, some of the most common causes are:

  • Accidents
  • Falls
  • Injuries
  • Being overweight
  • Weak muscles
  • Work-related stress
  • Muscular Imbalance
  • Improper sleeping habits
  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes
  • Poor self-image

The society we live in today has made a significant impact on our postural habits. We have become a more sedentary society due to electronic devices, video games and computers. Spending the majority of our day doing these activities has led to poor posture in the vast majority of people both young and old – we are sitting at our desks more often, hunching over laptop screens, and straining our necks by looking at our mobile devices for long periods of time.

How Poor Posture Affects Your Body

As the years go by, poor posture can lead to problems such as back pain and neck pain. Below are some other problems caused by poor posture:

  • Fatigue
  • Tight neck muscles
  • Aching back muscles
  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness of joints

How to Check for Good Posture

You can check your posture by doing the mirror test. To perform this test, you must stand in front of a full length mirror and look to see if:

  • Your head is straight
  • Your shoulders are level and in line
  • Your hips are level and even
  • Your ankles appear straight

How to Improve Your Posture

You can improve your posture in a variety of ways such as:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Keeping your weight within normal limits
  • Invest in a good mattress
  • Adjust your work chair and desk to a comfortable height

If you are having chronic back and neck pain because your posture is poor, it may benefit you to see a chiropractor for advice. During a consultation, a chiropractor may be able to identify the causes of your poor posture and provide a treatment plan to improve it. In many cases, people who see a chiropractor for treatment experience a reduction in pain almost immediately. Call Summit Chiropractic and Sports Institute at (509) 922-1909 to learn more about how chiropractic can help improve posture and relieve neck or back pain.

man with back pain problems

How to Relieve Back Pain at Home

Sometimes you’re unable to make a visit to the chiropractor when your back is hurting or there are just a few days left until your appointment. At Summit Chiropractic, Spokane Valley’s leading chiropractic clinic, we don’t want you to suffer from the pain. We have compiled a list of five things you can easily do from home to relieve back pain. We highly recommend implementing these tips even if you’re receiving chiropractic care in order to promote a healthy back.

  1. Improve Your Posture

Poor posture is one of the main contributors to back pain. We unknowingly hunch over when using computers and smartphones. Poor posture isn’t always the cause behind a back ache, but it can make it worse. Either way, improving your posture is an easy way to relieve back pain over the long-term.

Seeing one of our chiropractors regularly for spinal adjustments can assist you in correcting and maintaining your posture. Even if you’re receiving chiropractic adjustments, it’s still important to do postural exercises at home to remind your body of correct posture and strengthen your back muscles for a healthy spine. Be aware of how you sleep, sit, stand or walk to improve your daily posture.

  1. Use Ice the First Two Days, Then Heat

If you’ve injured your back or are suddenly experiencing back pain, apply an ice pack to the area for up to 20 minutes several times throughout the day for two days. You can then, start using moist heat by wetting a towel with warm water. Moist heat will reduce back spasms and improve blood flow. Similar to ice, only leave it on your back up to 20 minutes. You can do this numerous times per day over the course of several days.

  1. Perform Stretches That Are Intended to Relieve Back Pain

There are many stretches that help alleviate back pain that you can do from the comfort of your home. One stretch you can do at home to relieve back pain is to lie on your back and pull one knee to your chest. Hold the position for about 30 seconds before repeating with the other leg. Another stretch you can do is actually called child’s pose in yoga; it can be very relaxing. Sit on your knees and slowly lean forward with your arms straight in front of you. Relax in the pose for around 30 seconds.

  1. Engage in Stress-Relieving Activities

Stress is one of the potential causes of upper back pain. People have a tendency to tense their shoulders and upper back muscles when they’re feeling stressed. If you know that you hold tension in your back, incorporate back stretches in your weekly routine to help relieve the tension and stretch your muscles so that they don’t cause back pain. Also engage in stress-relieving activities, such as hanging out with close friends, meditating, or reading a good book with a warm cup of tea.

Implement these tips into your daily routine and continue to exercise them to relieve back pain. If you continue to have back pain, especially if it’s a chronic condition (lasting more than 3 months) contact us today to book an evaluation or appointment. Call all Summit Chiropractic and Sports Institute at (509) 922-1909.

woman sprinting running

6 Tips to Avoiding Overuse Injuries

Spokane Valley is a wonderful place to work out and stay in shape. If exercise is your forte, you want to be careful to avoid overuse injuries. Overuse injuries occur gradually as physical stress remodels structures such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. Remodeling involves both the breaking down and the building up of tissue. When breaking down occurs faster than building up, overuse injuries take place. At that point, you will probably need to seek Chiropractic care. Luckily, there are ways to avoid these injuries.

  1. Don’t push through the pain

We’ve all heard the phrase, “no pain, no gain.” When it comes to discomforts like back and leg pain, it simply doesn’t apply. The more you push yourself, the more likely you are to put negative stress on your bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. This could lead to a debilitating overuse injury. Use pain as an indicator for when to stop or slow down.

  1. Follow the 10 percent rule

Every athlete wants to improve her or his speed and strength. It can be tempting to take yourself to the next level and cause an injury. That is why experts suggest increasing your training no more than 10 percent per week. Don’t forget about the first rule. If increasing by 10 percent causes you pain, ease off on the training or activity a little more.

  1. Alternate training days

If you train extra hard every day, the stress you put on your body may very well lead to discomfort such as back and leg pain. Instead, work hard one day and take it a little easier the next. You can also alternate which parts of your body you train. If you develop pain that does not go away when you cut back on your routine, seek Chiropractic assessment and treatment.

  1. Replace your running shoes regularly

It’s a good idea to replace your running shoes every 500 miles. Beyond that, shoes lose their ability to absorb shock which can lead to an overuse injury of the legs and feet. Also, avoid running more than 45 miles per week. Running farther will not increase your stamina, and may only increase the chances of hurting yourself.

  1. Warm up and cool down

Start your workout with a light jog. Then proceed to gentle stretching to prepare yourself for more vigorous activity. After you have finished your workout, cool down by walking, stretching or doing yoga.

  1. Talk to your doctor or chiropractor regularly

If you’re starting a new exercise routine, tell your doctor or chiropractor about it. He or she can examine you for risk factors and tell you how to work out safely. For women, your physician might also suggest adding a calcium supplement to reduce the risk of stress fractures.

Working out is good for your health, but you don’t want to suffer a painful overuse injury. These tips can help you avoid being hurt.

Summit Chiropractic and Sports Institute offers a wide range of services for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who want to improve their performance. Call us at (509) 922-1909 to find out more.

woman and man with neck and back pain

5 Major Causes of Neck and Back Pain

Neck and back pain is most common among people between the ages of 18 and 64. Research indicates both conditions are common complaints at doctors’ offices. Although often soft-tissue related, they temporarily diminish mobility which inhibits the sufferer’s daily activities. Fortunately, patients can receive natural and full body wellness care from chiropractors. Chiropractic specialists offer spinal manipulation, adjustments and other noninvasive treatments that don’t involve addictive drugs or invasive procedure for pain. But before any treatment, there must be a diagnosis.

Below are five major causes of neck and back pain. If your condition is related to one of the following causes, inform your physician or chiropractor so that they can determine the best path of care.


Medical professionals, especially chiropractors, see many patients following neck and back trauma. Trauma involves an impact or jolt that shifts the spine or surrounding musculoskeletal structures. The source is typically a car accident or physical sport. Most injuries are soft tissue related. They typically resolve over a few weeks with rest and spinal manipulation (adjustments).

Poor Posture

Men and women who work in an office or retail facility often develop neck and back pain. Why? Sitting and standing for long hours hunched over tightens back and neck muscles. The best practice is to adopt better postural habits. Regardless of a person’s height, weight and stature, a person’s posture should follow the natural curve of the spine and maintain upright and squared shoulders. If you find yourself sitting for longer periods during the day, it’s important to ensure that laptop and computer screens are at eye-level, chairs are positioned at the right height and you are sitting up straight and not hunched over a desk.

Musculoskeletal Abnormalities

Abnormalities in bones and muscles can also cause neck and back pain. The usual culprits are bone spurs, herniated discs or scoliosis. Bone spurs are skeletal projections stemming from bones that irritate joints or other bones, herniated discs occur when soft centers in spinal discs extend out of their exterior cases, and scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine. Medical care for all three vary, but almost always involves a form of physical therapy or chiropractic care.

Degenerative Diseases

Diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis and other debilitating diseases distort human tissue and can erode this substance. The repercussion: bones in the neck and back rub against each other. For most people, it’s very painful. Consequently, age plays a factor in degenerative diseases. Middle-agers and seniors develop these ailments more so than younger individuals. Since no cure exists for degenerative diseases, sufferers must adapt their lifestyles. They may need to lose weight, exercise, and avoid specific foods.

Muscle Strain

A strain occurs after neck and back muscles stretch or tear. Strenuous exercise or heavy lifting cause muscle strains. Affected regions throb and ache. Application of a cold or warm cloth helps. If inflammation or spasm occurs, more medical care is necessary. Services from a chiropractor or massage therapist can alleviate these symptoms.

In conclusion, the five major causes of neck and back pain – trauma, poor posture, musculoskeletal abnormalities, degenerative disease and muscle strain – effect millions. Yet in most cases, there is a solution. Seeking medical care early is a key way to reducing the chances of complication and pain.

Call Summit Chiropractic and Sports Institute at (509) 922-1909 to book an evaluation or appointment your neck or back pain.