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To heat or ice an injury or pain??



We often get asked “which is better heat or ice?” and it really depends on the specific situation.

The general rule of thumb is if it is a fresh injury – ice may feel better. If it is a chronic problem, a stiff area or sore muscle, then heat may be best. Either way, the heat or ice should feel good – if it increases the pain or swelling, remove the heat or ice.


See painscience.com’s article discussing heat vs. ice for a great explanation.


Their bottom line:

“The bottom line is: use whatever feels best to you! Your own preference is the tie-breaker and probably the most important consideration. For instance, heat cannot help if you already feel unpleasantly flushed and don’t want to be heated. And ice is unlikely to be effective if you have a chill and hate the idea of being iced!

If you start to use one and you don’t like the feel of it … just switch to the other.”



Heat and ice come in many forms, and most times you already have something that can be useful.

Heat: hot water bottle, magic bag, heating pad that plugs in, warm bath etc.

Ice: ice pack, frozen peas, bag of ice, ice water (for foot or hand) – remember when placing ice on an area to make sure to wrap it with a towel or some sort of barrier so that the skin does not get too cold.

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at info@maxmoncton.ca. To book a physiotherapy appointment call (506) 388-1333 or visit maxmoncton.ca and click on the Book an Appointment button at the top of the page to book online.

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1909 Mountain Road, Unit 10, Moncton, NB E1G 1A8

506-388-1333