It depends on the type of injury and the length of time that you have been suffering from it. Both ice and heat provide modest pain relief. However, ice also provides an anti-inflammatory effect. Therefore, for recent acute injuries it is advisable to ice for thefirst 24-48 hours after onset. The recommended frequency is 10 minutes of ice Â followed by 10 minutes of rest. You can repeat this cycle as often as necessary. Common methods of applying cold are ice cubes in a plastic baggie, a frozen gel pack, or a bag of frozen peas. For the brave of heart, an ice water bath for injured hands or feet can be used. However, in this case, you should only submerge the injured body part for 5 minutes.
The application of heat is useful for chronic conditions. Often pain resulting from osteoarthritis or chronic stiffness responds well to heat. Heat can be applied with the use of heating pads, hot water bottles, microwavable bean bags or gel packs. The use of moist heat will provide better penetration and more comfort. Heating for 20 minutes to 1 hour is suitable for most conditions.
These recommendations are provided as general information for common painful conditions. Ultimately, if you suffer from severe pain or a pathological condition, an assessment from a regulated health professional is required. TRCC specializes in the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. We are your local one-Â stop-Â shop for all of your physiotherapy, chiropractic, athletic therapy, massage therapy and acupuncture treatments.