When To Use Heat Or Ice For Pain Symptoms

What’s the best therapy for basic aches and pains and inflammation?   The age-old question of whether to apply heat or ice to ease the pain is better understood today.

The basic rule is to use ice for recent, acute injuries less than 6 weeks old especially in the first 72 hours and heat for longer-term injuries that have persisted for longer than 6 weeks.   Ice constricts blood vessels, numbs pain and reduces inflammation.   This is what your body needs to respond to a new injury.   

Conversely, heat increases blood flow to problem areas to relax tight muscles and aching joints.   Heat can also increase inflammation in certain injuries, so ask your health provider for direction on what to use for your specific injury.

Heat therapy can be provided with a warm bath, heat wrap, or heating pad on the injured area.

Generally, heat is typically best for:

·         Arthritis

·         Muscle spasms

·         Headaches caused by tight neck muscles

·         Muscle spasms

·         Relieving stiffness of strains and sprains after inflammation has subsided

Ice is often best for:

·         New injuries

·         Strains and sprains

·         Sports injuries

·         Throbbing headaches

·         Gout flare-ups

·         Tendinitis (commonly in the shoulder, elbow, knee, and wrist)

To apply ice, use a bag of frozen peas or corn to make an ice pack that molds to the injured area.  Do not apply ice directly to the skin, wrap it in a lightweight cloth or towel.

As a general rule, apply heat or ice for no more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time and then take a break of at least 30 minutes between sessions.   If you start to feel uncomfortable, remove the ice or heat. 

If the pain persists, be sure to give us a call. If the spine is mis-aligned, particularly the Atlas or C1, is important to come in for a spinal check. Mis-alignments or subluxations cause stress on the nervous system and lead to greater issues when left untreated.

 When To Use Heat Or Ice For Pain Symptoms

At Foresight Chiropractic, we focus on the overall health and wellness of the person.    Please call us for information and to schedule your free consultation.  We provide gentle and specific, Atlas Orthogonal upper cervical Chiropractic care, massage therapy, BEMER sessions to improve your blood flow and circulation and to reduce inflammation, Advanced Muscle Integration Therapy, and nutrition and supplement counseling. At the Valley’s premier Wellness and Sports Center, the Board Certified Doctors and caring staff have been restoring the health and quality of life for our patients for over 21 years. Check out some of our patient’s testimonials and call today!


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