Crown Point219-213-2315

Injury Myths Debunked: Should I Use Heat or Ice for Pain?



Whether it’s a strain, sprain, or headache, heat and ice are common home remedies that can help alleviate your symptoms. However, they aren’t just interchangeable. Depending on the cause and location of your pain, one might be more effective than the other. 

As with all injuries, knowing the right treatment for your condition will help get you back up and moving more sooner. However, if your pain is severe, or if it doesn’t seem to be healing on its own, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor for further information. The experts at Motus Integrative Health can help you understand your condition, so you know whether home treatment is appropriate or if further attention might be needed. 

When to Use a Warm Compress or Heating Pad

Understanding how the remedy works can help you choose which method to use. Applying a warm compress will increase blood flow to the affected area and reduce muscle stiffness. For instance, a stiff neck leading to headache or chronic conditions like arthritis may benefit from application of heat. When dealing with a recent injury, heat can be used in conjunction with ice after the swelling has gone down. With some pain, a warm shower or bath can also help. 

Because it does increase blood flow, it’s not recommended to use heat on an acute or swollen injury. If you have a pre-existing condition that can increase your risk for burns or other complications, ask your doctor before using heat for pain relief. 

Ice for Swelling and Soreness

When you apply ice for pain, it helps to numb the area and reduce swelling and inflammation. This makes it a good choice for injuries and other conditions such as gout or tendinitis. While ice isn’t always comfortable to apply, it can certainly make a difference in how you will feel after and is generally safe to apply for up to 20 minutes at a time. 

Cold can be applied with traditional ice packs or in an ice bath. To reduce the risk of injury to your skin, always wrap your ice pack in a rag or towel. You can also use cold masks or a rag soaked in cool water to lay over your eyes and soothe a headache. 

Physical Therapy for Pain Relief

If your symptoms don’t begin to diminish with home remedies, it may be time to see a specialist. A physical therapist will work with you to strengthen your body to reduce pain and help prevent reinjury. Physical therapists can teach you the right way to stretch and exercise for pain relief, ensuring that you’ll develop an exercise plan that works for you long term.

Scheduling an Appointment at Motus Integrative Health

While many types of pain can be treated at home with the right applications of heat and ice, pain that is severe or doesn’t go away should be assessed by a professional. At Motus Integrative Health, we take your pain seriously and want to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our doctor. 


Ready To Feel Better?

Phone numbers




Crown Point



Get A Free Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Three Northwest Indiana Locations


Mon, Wed: 9am-4pm
Tue, Thu: 9am-6pm
Fri-Sun: closed

Crown Point

Mon-Thu: 9am-6pm
Fri: 9am-12pm
Sat-Sun: closed


Mon-Thu: 9am-1pm, 2pm-6pm
Fri: 9am-12pm
Sat-Sun: closed