Skip to content

The Dilemma of Ice Vs. Heat

Man icing his shoulder.

Ice is best for the treatment of new injuries.

When faced with an injury or discomfort, there always seems to be confusion and hesitation over the proper therapy to use: heat or ice? I want to help clear up some common misconceptions on this topic so you’ll know you’re making the right choice in dealing with pain or physical trauma.

Ice Is Nice for New Injuries

If you’ve recently strained a muscle with visible signs of swelling or have sustained an injury following a car accident, ice is the way to go. Ice is even useful following a particularly hard workout at the gym when you’ve overdone it.

Ice also has strict protocols that must be followed as far as a treatment to various body parts. The rule of thumb is 10 minutes of use for small body parts, such as the hands and toes, followed by one hour of non-application. Larger body parts, such as the lower back, require 20 minutes of ice management, again followed by one hour of disuse.

It’s wise to purchase a soft gel pack and keep it in the freezer in case something unexpected happens. Ice is particularly useful as a drugless alternative in the treatment of injury caused by a vehicular collision. In this case, it should be used for a minimum of 48 hours. The use of cold therapy is valuable in these ways:

  • Production of an anesthetic effect
  • Reduction of pain
  • Reduction of swelling

You Can’t Beat Heat for Old Injuries

Heat is very useful for chronic conditions and old injuries, and moist heat is always a better choice than dry heat. Heat also has the characteristic of worsening inflammation, so never use it on a fresh injury. It will actually increase the pain at the site of the trauma.

Here are the advantages of heat:

  • Helps to create muscle relaxation
  • Helps to bring blood to an area for a soothing sensation
  • Helps to reduce the pain of old trigger points

I hope this clears up a lot of the misinformation on these wonderful natural health care therapies. They, combined with regular chiropractic care, can assist greatly in pain-free living!

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.