Hot vs. Cold
Whether or not you should apply heat or ice to your pain can be a confusing proposition: the treatments are opposites but are used to the same effect. If you have ever been unsure if your situation required heat or ice then read on!
Rule of thumb: Heat is for muscles. Ice is for injuries.
- Treat for no longer than 20 minutes at a time
- During treatment check skin every 5 minutes to make sure there is no damage such as burn or freezer burn (skin would become reddened or blistered)
- Do not apply directly to skin, use a thin towel
- Do not lie on a ice or hot pack to avoid falling asleep and potentially harming yourself
- Wait 1 hour in between treatments
- Do not use heat if you have swelling, bruising, or no feeling in that affected part of your body
- Do not use heat if you have poor circulation, such as if you have diabetes
- When in doubt, use ICE
Here is a handy infographic you can save or print off to help you remember.