Ice Vs. Heat – When to Use Each in Oakland CA

Ice Vs. Heat - When to Use Each

medical team in Oakland CA

Have you ever been confused as to when you should be applying ice or heat to your injuries? I hope the information I share with you today will help to clear up the mystery. Ice and heat are both useful applications for pain relief, but you need to know when to use one method versus the other. If you are unsure, please ask and I will be happy to help.

ice and heat method

Ice works by reducing blood flow to the affected area and significantly reduces inflammation and swelling that causes pain, especially around a joint or tendon. The effects of ice are threefold: pain reduction, a reduction in swelling, and a reduction of heat. When you ice, always put a thin layer of material between your skin and the ice pack to prevent damage from burning. Use only one layer of material though. More than that and it will reduce the effects of the ice. Ice for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. Ten minutes is enough.

When to Apply Ice

  • When the area is visibly inflamed (think hot, puffy, sore, and red).
  • When you have a herniated disc
  • When you injure a muscle

Heat doesn’t provide as many physical benefits as ice - it can work to relax sore muscles, but it’s mainly used for comfort and reassurance. It works by bringing heat to the affected area and increasing blood flow to it. Be sure not to overheat - opt for warmer temperatures rather than hot. If you experience swelling while using heat, stop immediately. Heat should be applied for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

When to Apply Heat

  • After you have finished a hard workout and your muscles feel overworked, take a hot bath. Add epsom salts to a hot bath to increase the pain relief. This will deliver magnesium to your muscles.
  • If you are feeling stressed out, heat can help you to relax.
  • If you are experiencing menstrual cramps, heat will help relax the muscles in your abdomen and pelvis.

Knowing whether to use ice or heat can be incredibly helpful to your healing process, but applying the wrong technique can worsen for your symptoms. Both methods have their own set of appropriate applications. If you are unsure of which method to use, don’t hesitate to ask!

Are you experiencing pain and inflammation in your neck or back? Got a herniated disc and need relief? Let us get you scheduled for a chiropractic visit and help you find some relief from your pain. You can schedule via email at or by calling 510-922-1579 to make an appointment. Or, feel free to text us at 510-292-9948.


8:00am - 5:00pm

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8:00am - 5:00pm

9:30am - 6:30pm



Core Wellness Chiropractic
600 Grand Avenue #301
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 922-1579

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