Reviewed by Neha Pathak on April 09, 2018

Sources

UCLA Health: “Ice Therapy.”, University of Rochester Medical Center: “Ice Packs vs. Warm Compresses For Pain.”, Ohio State University: “Heat or ice: Which is better for pain?”, Pond5., AudioJungle.

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Video Transcript

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SPEAKER: Ice and heat can help you ease mild pain. Here's how they each work. Ice helps to numb pain and tender areas. It can also bring down swelling, especially if you use it right after an injury. To use it safely, you can wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel, then put it on the area that hurts for up to 20 minutes. Wait about 40 minutes before you use it again.

Heat can help you in a different way. Along with easing pain, it can also relax stiff joints and muscles that tighten up or spasm. Be careful, though. Use warm water instead of hot if you decide to make a compress or soak in a bath. If you decide to use a heating pad, don't place it right on your skin-- it could burn you. Follow the directions on how long and how often to use it, too. So should you use ice, heat, or alternate between both to ease minor pain? You can try all three options and see what helps. If none of them do, your doctor can give you other ways to feel better.