Should I Use Ice or Heat?

One of the most common questions I get asked is whether to use Ice or Heat on a particular pain or injury.  Now there isn’t a once-size-fits-all answer here.  Ultimately, You have to listen to your body and react accordingly.

Here are a few quick tips to help you make a better decision about Ice or Heat.

  • Is your pain Hot or Cold?  If you had to catagorize the words you use to describe your pain as either a HOT word or a COLD word, what would you say?  For instance…words like sharp, shooting, stabbing, recent, inflamed and swollen are HOT Words.  Words like chronic, achy, sore and stiff are Cold words.  If your pain is HOT use ice.  If your pain is Cold use heat.
  • Watch the Clock:  Regardless of whether you use ice or heat, make sure you keep an eye on the clock.  As a general rule you should apply for 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off.  You can burn yourself with ice as well as heat…keep that in mind.
  • Listen to Your Body:  I’m not a fan of blindly doing things just because someone told me to.  I would encourage you to be the same way.  Think for yourself.  Your body is not like anyone else’s so pay attention to it.  If it says NO…listen.  You will save yourself a lot of heartache.