A very common question we get asked is do I use ice or heat for pain? Well the question depends on the injury and here is a simple way to work out which you need:

When to Ice – acute injuries such as a sprained ankle or a new muscle strain. If a joint or areas looks red and swollen then it is inflamed. The inflammatory process is a healthy, normal, natural process that also happens to be incredibly painful and more biologically stubborn than it needs to be. Icing is mostly just a mild, drugless way of dulling the pain of inflammation. Place ice on affected area for 15 mins. Never put it directly onto the skin, so wrap it in a tea-towel or something similar.

When to Heat – taking the edge off muscle spasms and trigger points, or conditions that are often dominated by them, like back pain and neck pain. It is also effective for chronic pain and stress as it calms down the nervous system.

So simply put if it’s an acute injury or looks inflamed ice it. If it’s a longer term issue or muscle spasm then apply some heat.

If you are struggling with an injury then why not get in contact on 01276 37670 or email admin@thorpesphysiotherapy.

We also sell re-usable heat/cold packs at our Sandhurst clinic for only £10, so if you need one why not pop in and pick one up.