Treating your pain or injury with ice and heat is known to be very effective. But do you know when it's appropriate to be using heat and when you should be using ice? In general, heat should be applied for muscle pain or stiffness and ice for small injuries or for any inflammation or swelling.
Heat therapy is more beneficial when used for a longer period of time, when compared to cold therapy. It will help to relax and soothe your muscles as well as to heal any damaged tissue. You can even use it before working out to improve your mobility.
You should never use heat therapy if you have any bruising or swelling, or on any area with an open wound.
Applying ice to an injured area will reduce the blood flow, which will result in any swelling or inflammation being reduced. Unlike heat therapy, you should never apply ice directly to your skin. Always wrap it in a towel first to reduce any possible risk of skin or tissue damage. Cold therapy should also be used multiple times a day for no more than 20 minutes at a time.