Cold therapy works well after a sudden injury, while heat therapy helps to soothe ongoing muscle aches and pains.
Ice works for injuries because it narrows your blood vessels, preventing blood from accumulating in the area, and helping to relieve swelling and inflammation.
For muscle aches and pains, applying a heat pack will help bring blood flow to the area, which promotes healing and soothes the pain.
Precautions when using heat and ice:
Don’t use cold or heat packs:
- Over areas of skin that are in poor condition
- Over areas of skin with poor sensation to heat or cold
- Over areas of the body with known poor circulation
- If you have diabetes
- In the presence of infection