You were in a whiplash type accident, what should you use on your neck? Ice or Heat? You have been suffering with low back pain for 4 months, what should you use on your lower back? Ice or Heat?
The Use of Ice and Heat Therapy has been found to be very beneficial for not only decreasing pain but also controling pain. Cold Therapy or Ice should be used in the acute phase of an injury- you bump your knee on the coffee table, immediately apply ice. This aids in decreasing inflammation and numbs the immediate pain. Ice can sometimes increase pain that arises from a trigger point, so don't use cold therapy in these cases.
Use heat therapy for the treatment of muscle spasms. It relaxes the muscles and stimulates vasodilation to help remove inflammatory toxins and by products of muscle spasm. Because using heat can increase inflammation, it should be avoided during the acute phase.
**In general, begin with using ice during the acute inflammatory phase, as long as you can tolerate it, and then move on to heat therapy.