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When to Use Ice or Heat on an Injury

March 7, 2022

Bump and bruises are an inevitable part of life, so it’s always good to understand basic first aid. When it comes to minor injuries, heat treatment and cold treatment can be instrumental in healing—but how do you know whether you should use heat or cold therapy on your injury?

Injury Treatment

Icing your injury will help reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain, cooling down your joints and muscle tissue. Icing your injury immediately after it happens can prevent it from hurting worse later on.

Avoid using heat therapy immediately after an injury—it’s best used to treat muscle pain and stiffness issues. Heat is best used while you’re recovering from an injury, helping to improve blood flow to the affected area.

Of course, this is only if your injury is minor. If the injury doesn’t get better  or worsens, contact your doctor. In addition, don’t treat your injury with ice or heat it’s infected, if you have diabetes, or if your skin is in poor condition, as it can worsen your injury.

Ice Treatment

After injuring yourself, it’s best to ice your injury as soon as possible. Ice it for about 25 minutes before giving it a break, then continue icing it. If you don’t have an ice pack, anything frozen will work, including the pack of frozen peas that has been sitting in your freezer for too long.

Heat Treatment

Do not use heat on your injury right away, as this can irritate the injury and make it more painful. Instead, use heat on your injury once the swelling goes down and the healing process is underway. The heat will increase circulation and blood flow, speeding healing. Heat your injury for about 15-20 minutes, once a day, for a few days. You can use a heat pack, an electric heat pad, or a rice bag to help treat your injury.

Interested in learning more about basic first aid? Visit the Specialized Health and Safety blog for more articles on health and wellness, or sign up for a class today.