Heat or Ice?


If you’ve ever experienced an injury either from working out or just moving the wrong way, you have probably wondered whether you should reach for the ice pack or the heating pad. Most people do both, which can actually further aggravate your injury. Here are our tips for using heat and ice therapy.


Ice packs are usually the better choice for injuries and inflammation. The cold temperatures restrict blood flow, which reduces inflammation and swelling. So, any time you suffer from a strain, sprain, or bruising, go for the ice pack. There are two ways to treat an injury with ice:

  • Immediately: treating an injury immediately will prevent the area from becoming stiff by reducing tissue fluid.

  • Rehabilitation: Massage therapists, physical therapists, and chiropractors use cold therapy to reduce spasms and pain to allow for better mobility.

If you have cardiovascular disease or poor circulation, consult with your doctor before using cold therapy. Additionally, make sure you don’t apply ice for too long or directly on to your skin as you could experience nerve, tissue, or skin damage.  


Heat is great for relaxation. While ice restricts the blood vessels, heat does the opposite and opens them up which increases blood flow to an affected area. This is ideal for most aches and pains, and is generally good for repairing damaged tissue as increased blood flow stimulates the healing process. You will usually find relief from tension and minor stiffness within 15-20 minutes of heat therapy.

Take care that you don’t burn yourself while using heat therapy. This might seem obvious, but it happens more frequently than you’d think! If you have bruising or swelling, avoid heat. You also don’t want to use heat therapy near open wounds, and ask your doctor before using heat treatment if you suffer from hypertension or heart disease.


Cold and heat therapies are beneficial when it comes to injuries caused by physical activity, but they are not long-term solutions. A healthy musculoskeletal system is imperative to your overall health and healing, and affects how the entire body functions. With regular chiropractic adjustments, you can help your body reduce pain and tension by utilizing the natural healing process. Choosing chiropractic as your first line of defense decreases the likelihood of surgery or further injury, so contact us and schedule your next appointment today!