"When should I use heat or a hot pad... and when should I use a cold gel pack or ice therapy?" We get this question a lot from new clients and busy New Yorkers just like you.
Here's the answer: - If you just hurt yourself in the last few hours or few days, use an ice pack/cold therapy. So, this includes things like rolling your ankle, bumping your elbow, landing on your knee, stubbing your toe, or you did something or got injured where you now see a "bump" (swelling or swollen area) or you see a bruise (red, purple, blue area). If you sustained a mild or moderate injury listed above, then do not place a hot pack or heating pad on this area until 2-3 weeks after the injury occurred.
- If you are dealing with a pain or injury for longer than 2 weeks, then it actually does not matter if you use ice or heat. After 2 weeks, it is up to you and your preference of ice or heat.
Some people will prefer heat as they like the warm, smoothing feeling. So, if you have a pain or injury that is over 2 weeks in duration, then you can use a hot pack or heating pad on your area of discomfort. Others prefer the numbing sensation of ice.
Precautions: Do not use ice or heat if you have... - poor sensation, - poor blood flow circulation, - diabetes, - an open wound or healing wound, cut, or laceration, - a known infection or suspect an infection.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: All information on this website is intended for informational purposes only. The authors are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result. Significant injury risk is possible if you do not follow due diligence and seek suitable professional advice about your injury. No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied on this website.