When do I know to use Ice and when do I know to use Heat?

When to use Ice

If there are any of the 4 signs of Inflammation present: Heat, Swelling, Redness and Pain, then it is warranted that you apply ice to the area for up to 10 min only. Leaving Ice on longer than 10 minutes will begin to produce inflammation in the tissues which is counter productive. Remove the ice and let tissues come back to normal temperature and then re-apply. Icing will break the pain cycle, relieve the inflammation and help in speeding up your healing time.

When to use Heat

When you are experiencing soreness from overuse, strain or restriction in tight muscles, then loosening that up with heat is a wonderful way to unravel tension. This heat source can be either through a heat pack or a hot bath, allowing for blood flow into what is already a deprived area. When muscle has been allowed to be tight and uncomfortable for a while, there is compression of the blood vessels and nerves leading to areas of dysfunction.  Muscle and tissues need oxygen and nutrients which are found in the blood.