Heat and Cold What is better for your pain ?

Ice and Heat are easy, natural, affordable ways to relieve pain. Ever wonder which one is better for your particular problem?

Heat and Cold What is better for your pain ?

Live Well

Heat Therapy : 

Heat therapy

- Heat therapy works by improving circulation and blood flow to a particular area due to increased temperature.

- Increasing the temperature of the affected area even slightly can soothe discomfort and increase muscle flexibility.

- Heat therapy can relax and soothe muscles and heal   damaged tissue.

When not to use?

There are certain cases where heat therapy should not be used.

If the area in question is either bruised or swollen (or both), it may be better to use cold therapy.

Heat therapy also shouldn’t be applied to an area with an open wound.

Applying heat therapy 

-Heat therapy is often most beneficial when used for a good amount of time, unlike cold therapy, which needs to be limited.

- Minor stiffness or tension can often be relieved with only 15 to 20 minutes of heat therapy.

- Moderate to severe pain can benefit from longer sessions of heat therapy like warm bath, lasting between 30 minutes and two hours.

Cold Therapy

How it works

- Cold therapy works by reducing blood flow to a particular area, which can significantly reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain especially around a joint or a tendon.

- It can temporarily reduce nerve activity, which can also relieve pain.

When not to use?

- People with sensory disorders that prevent them from feeling certain sensations should not use cold therapy at home because they may not be able to feel if damage is being done. This includes diabetes which can result in nerve damage and lessened sensitivity.

- You should not use cold therapy on stiff muscles or joints.

- Cold therapy should not be used if you have poor circulation.

Applying cold therapy

- For home treatment, apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel or ice bath to the affected area.

- You should never apply a frozen item directly to the skin as it can cause damage to the skin and tissues.

- Apply cold treatment as soon as possible after an injury.

- Use cold therapy for short periods of time, several times a day. Ten to 15 minutes is fine, and no more than 20 minutes should be used at a time to prevent nerve, tissue and skin damage.

- You can elevate the affected area for best results.






Knee, Shoulder, Elbow, Fingers


Moist heat eases chronically stiff joints, relaxes tight muscles

Chronic inflammatory arthritis ) big toe, ankle, heel, knee, wrist, finger, elbow….)

Gout flare-ups

Ice calms flare-ups, numbs pain

Pain from nerves or blood vessels in the head or from muscles


Ice numbs throbbing head pain

Moist heat relaxes painful neck spasm

Pulled muscles or injured tendons in the thigh, back, calf, ….


Ice eases inflammation (redness, swelling and or tenderness), numbs pain.

Heat eases stiffness after inflammation resolves.

Stretching or tearing of ligaments in joints like the knee, ankle, foot, elbow,….


Ice eases inflammation, numbs pain.

Heat relieves stiffness after inflammation resolves.


Acute irritation after activity in tendons attached to joints like the shoulder, elbow, knee, wrist, heel, ….


Ice eases inflammation, numbs pain.


Chronic irritation and stiffness in tendons attached to joints


Heat relieves stiffness after inflammation resolves.



Heat and Cold What is better for your pain ?

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