When to use Heat or Ice for Pain

Sep11th 2018


Rebecca Paratore, Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant

Heat helps increase blood flow to the area which can help with achy or stiff joints and relax tense muscles. Heat should be applied to the area for 15-20 minutes and should be warm not hot. Using heat can help relieve stiff arthritic joint pain and relax tense neck muscles that can cause headaches.

Using ice or cold packs also known as cryotherapy will constrict blood vessels which can help reduce swelling and pain when used for an acute injury. Using cryotherapy can help with tendinitis inflammation and reduce pain when used multiple times a day for 10-15 minutes.

To benefit the most from heat or cryotherapy you should use cryotherapy for an acute injury to help reduce swelling and then switch to heat to help promote relaxation to stiff joints or muscles. Using heat or ice can be a short-term fix for an injury if you are still having pain please call us and we can help you relieve that pain in many ways with our skilled and friendly staff.

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