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PartnerMD Live 5/1: Treating Pain with Heat vs. Treating Pain with Ice

Lifestyle & Wellness | Facebook Live Recap | OptimizePMD

At some point, everyone experiences muscle pain. Maybe you pulled a muscle recently. Maybe you worked out just a little too hard. Or maybe it's more chronic pain. Regardless, we all look for a solution to pain, and most of the time, it's either to use heat or to use ice. 

Are there times to use one or the other? How can you use each of them safely and effectively? Greenville health coach Caiti Nascarella explains. 

When should you use heat therapy for pain? 

Heat therapy is something that should be used for chronic, ongoing issues. Examples include lower-back pain, hip pain, arthritis pain, etc. 

What should you use for heat therapy?

Heating pads are very popular these days, but if you don't have one, a bottle filled with hot water should work. 

How long should you use heat therapy for? 

If you are using a medium or high heat setting, stick with 30 minutes or less. Make sure to give your skin some breaks to avoid irritation. If you are using a lower heat setting, you can use it for up to an hour. 

When should you use ice for pain?

Ice should be used for acute injuries, such as a sprained ankle, a twisted knee, or a pulled shoulder. Ice is great for sudden injuries, because it reduces inflammation. Ice is best used within 48 hours of an injury. 

How often should you ice for pain? 

20 minutes every 2-3 hours.