Ice vs Heat for Pain, Inflammation and Soreness

A common question a lot of my clients ask me is, should I use ice or heat? It depends on the circumstance. If you’re just a little bit sore, pick whichever one you prefer, ice or heat.

That being said if you’re experiencing pain, the general rule of thumb is to use ice. Because where there’s pain there’s going to be inflammation and ice is going to help to calm down that inflammation.

However, if heat feels good, you can put heat on, but then I would follow it up with ice.

The heat is going to be soothing and relaxing, but it’s also going to excite that inflammation. So follow it up with ice and that’ll help calm down the inflammation. You can actually alternate ice and heat as as many times as you like, but end with the cold.

The general rule of thumb with each of them, as far as how long you would keep it on, about 10 to 15 minutes. Particularly with the ice you just go until it basically feels numb and then it’s done its job. So that’s the general rule of thumb, ice vs. heat, hope that helps.

One other quick note there too is, if you like the alternating ice and heat but you only have time for one, then go with the ice.