Typically when we see patients that have an injury or are in pain the last thing you want to do is heat the injured area. However, diathermy is one of those exceptions to the rule. Based on the presentation and the symptoms present we will sometimes use heat to assist in the healing process.
Unless specifically told by a chiropractic physician or another doctor to apply heat, always use ice. One of our mottos is: when in doubt ice it down. We usually recommend 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
Diathermy is a form of heat treatment using high frequency electromagnetic currents. These cause molecules in deep tissue to vibrate, heating the tissues and increasing blood flow to them. Diathermy is used to accelerate recovery and reduce pain in sports injuries such as bursitis, strains, and sprains. It is not used on acute injuries where there has been recent bleeding.