Skip to main content

Most of us are unfortunate enough to have suffered an injury or experience pain.
Perhaps you’ve sprained an ankle, developed tennis elbow or have back pain that totally takes it out of you.
Sometimes painkillers take the edge off, maybe you try to avoid taking pain killers unless completely necessary.
We go through a list in our brains or scour google of all the best things to do to help; stretches, elevation, ice…or was it heat? Google just told you that you’re going to need a knee replacement and you’re none the wiser.
Here’s a little rule to help you out – as always there will be exceptions to this where you could use both, or you could alternate, but lets keep it simple.

Ice should be used in times of inflammation, and heat should never be used. This can be determined by swelling and heat e.g ankle sprain, bruising, instances where there has been impact or what you’re struggling with ends in ‘itis’
e.g. Bursitis, epicondylitis (golfers or tennis elbow)
Ice causes our veins to constrict, taking blood and inflammation away from the area.

Heat should be applied in times of a spasm or ache. If you apply ice, this could ‘shock’ the area causing increase in spasm.
For example, a crick neck or if your back goes into sudden sharp pain and clamps up stopping you from moving freely, often takes your breath away.
This is where we apply heat. The heat draws blood to the area and encourages the muscles to calm down and come out of spasm.

If you’re ever unsure, be sure to ask!