This is a very confusing issue for the general public but it does not have to be.
Skin sensation must be intact prior to using heat or ice to prevent any thermal burns or frost bite.
Here is a quick guideline for using heat versus ice.
When to use heat:
Heat is generally used in non-acute or chronic conditions. Its purpose is to relieve tight muscle spasms and trigger points thus reducing some of your pain. It is a useful way to loosen up muscles prior to stretching.
Heat should not be placed on inflamed or swollen body parts. This can make your condition worse as it can increase inflammation and swelling causing more pain.
When to use ice:
Ice should be used in acute (0-4 days) or fresh injuries. It can also be used to reduce swelling of swollen joints. It’s purpose is to reduce inflammation thus reducing your pain. A fresh ankle sprain or an acutely pulled muscle would be examples when ice is indicated.
If you have further questions please contact us to book an appointment. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have and help you recover from your injury.