Ice and heat can both be helpful for body aches and pains but which one is the best? This post will educate you to make the best decision and equip you to save money by making your own hot/cold pack.

ICE

Effects:

-Decreases circulation resulting in control of inflammation, swelling and pain

-Ideal for within 72 hours after injury

 

Use for:

Immediately after and day after twisting your ankle

The night after a hard exercise

Chronic back pain

Rheumatoid arthritis

Headaches/migraine

Neck pain

Nerve pain

Pain with pregnancy

Foot pain

 

Treatment parameters:

1-3x a day

15-20 minutes at a time

 

Warnings:

-Don’t put directly on the skin-can cause frost bite

-Avoid use if you have abnormal sensation or circulation (i.e. Raynaud’s or Neuropathy)

 

HEAT

Effects:

-Increases circulation to reduce muscle spasm and pain

-Ideal after acute stage of healing (0-72 hours post injury)

 

Used for:

Muscle spasm/cramping

Chronic back pain

Day after a hard exercise

Back strain

Fibromyalgia

 

Treatment parameters:

1-3x a day

Warm not hot

15-20 minutes at a time

 

Warnings:

-Avoid use 72 hours after injury onset

-Don’t apply to surgical incision or wound

–¬†Avoid use if you have abnormal sensation or circulation (i.e. Neuropathy)

 

To make your own:

Ice-Combine rubbing alcohol and water in a tight sealing ziplock. Ratio of rubbing alcohol:water is 1:2. Use a towel between skin and homemade ice-pack.

 

Hot-Fill a sock or seal-able bag with uncooked rice and place in microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute depending on size. This can be used as a cold pack by placing in the freezer.

https://www.sockdreams.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/02_fill.jpg

 

Hot/cold contrast bath: one container of cold water with ice cubes and one container of warm water (not hot). Immerse body part, alternating in cold (30 sec-1 min) and then in warm (1 min). Ending in cold water. This is helpful for hypersensitivity, nerve pain and swelling.