Ice, Heat, and When To Use Which


Have you recently experienced an injury? In most cases, people either go for a heating pad or an ice pack and there is usually some confusion around which to use for what injuries. We're here to put an end to that confusion. Here are some tips for whether you need heat or ice.


Ice is generally the better choice for inflammation and injuries. Cold temperatures restrict blood flow and reduce inflammation and swelling. So, any time you are experiencing bleeding in the underlying tissues, like sprains, strains, or bruising, go for the ice treatment!

There are two ways to properly use ice as a form of treatment: 

Rehabilitation: Our massage therapists, physical therapists, and chiropractors will use cold therapy to reduce spasms and pain, which will allow for increased mobility.

Immediate treatment: This prevents the injured area from becoming stiff by reducing tissue fluid.

Cold therapy is best avoided for those with poor circulation. If you apply the ice for too long or directly on to the injury, you may experience nerve, tissue, or skin damage. Anyone with cardiovascular disease should consult their doctor prior to using cold therapy. 


Heat is a great tool for relaxation. While ice restricts the blood vessels, heat opens them up. That increases blood flow to an affected area, and is ideal for most aches and pains. Heat therapy is also generally good for repairing damaged tissue, since the increased flow of blood stimulates healing. Most people find relief from minor tension and stiffness within 15-20 minutes. 

It is important to remind you not to burn yourself during heat therapy. It may seem obvious, but it happens quite frequently! If you are experiencing bruising or swelling, avoid heat therapy. Additionally, never use heat therapy near an open wound. If you suffer from hypertension or heart disease, ask your doctor before using heat treatment.


If you have experienced an injury from physical activity, heat and cold are beneficial, but they are not long-term solutions. A healthy musculoskeletal system is critical to your overall health and affects how your entire body functions. Receiving regular chiropractic adjustments will help reduce pain and tension by using the body's natural healing process. Scheduling a visit with us will be your body's first line of defense when you inevitably experience an injury, and will decrease your likelihood of having to undergo surgery. Call us today to schedule an appointment!