Heat or Ice: Which Method To Use

Many people aren’t sure whether to use heat or ice after an injury or feeling pain. This is very common as both help alleviate pain, but it’s important to know which method will benefit you the most.

What does heat do?

Applying heat opens up your blood vessels, which will increase blood flow, relax your muscles, and helps with pain.


Heat pack, microwave rice heating pad, electronic heating pad, hot stone massage, etc.

When to use it?

Heat is an excellent way to loosen up stuff muscles and joints. This method is good for headaches and other chronic conditions.

What does cold do?

Applying cold slows down the blood flow, which will decrease swelling, inflammation, and pain.


Ice pack, frozen gel pack, frozen veggies, etc.

When to use it?

Ice should be used right after an injury, or after an activity that irritates a chronic condition. This method is good for migraines, bumps, sprains, and strains.

Safety tips:
-never use hot or cold therapy for longer than 20 minutes
-never use heat if there is any swelling or bruising (when in doubt, use ice)
-never apply heat or ice directly to the skin, use a thin towel
-check skin every 5 minutes to ensure no burning (freezer or regular)
-when in doubt, use ice!