Heat or Ice: Which to choose?

Using heat or ice when you become injured is a cost effective ways of reducing pain and assisting in the healing process. However, there is often a lot of confusion around when to use each method and incorrect use can prolong the pain and the healing process.

Heat or ice?
Heat or ice?

Below, we will discuss the benefits of both ice and heat and when to use each method to get the best results.


When an injury occurs, such as a strain, sprain, acute pain or a chronic injury flare up, ice is what you should be turning to first. Ice is an anti-inflammatory and injuries such as the ones previously mentioned result in pain, inflammation and swelling in the area. Using ice on these injuries assist in reducing swelling and inflammation and will assist in reducing the pain in the affected area.

Our chiropractors recommend that you use ice for the first 24-72 hours after experiencing one of these injuries and a good guide to follow is 20 minutes with the ice on then 40 with it off until pain and inflammation reduce. We also reccommend that you contact the clinic as soon as possible to schedule an appointment so that our Chiropractic team can assess the severity of your injury and create a suitable treamtent plan for you.

Ice can also be used when suffering from a headache or migraine. Placing a cold mask or wrap on the forehead or over the eyes will assist in reducing the throbbing experienced and is a great natural therapy when wanting to avoid pain relief medication.


When you are in pain, it is a common reaction to reach for a heat pack to help loosen the area and sooth the pain. While this can be helpful in some cases, heat can actually cause an acute injury, like the ones mentioned prior, to become worse and prolong the pain as the heat encourages blood flow which causes inflammation. So to use heat effectively, ensure you don’t use it within the first few days of an acute injury occurring.

Once the ice has worked on bringing down your inflammation, heat can then be used to help loosen tight muscles and bring some comfort and mobility back into the area. Heat is also great at reducing muscle spasms, relieving aching joints and promoting healing through increased blood flow.

Using ice and heat when experiencing pain is a fantastic, cost effective, natural way of reducing pain and promoting healing. However, it is highly important that you use these correctly and see your chiropractor who can help in treating your injury and providing you with the right advice on which method is best for you.

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