Should I Use Heat or Ice on Muscle Pain?

Should I Use Heat or Ice on Muscle Pain?

Wondering whether heat or ice (or both) is best for your muscle pain? We've covered when and how to use hot and cold treatments for your sore muscles.

You've probably been told to apply ice to an injury after sustaining one. You've probably also heard that you should use heat, too.

Heat and ice are two commonly accessible pain relief treatments that you can do at home, but how do you know whether to use heat or ice on muscle pain?

In this guide, we cover the different pain relief properties of heat and ice, and when its best to use them for your muscle pain.

Should I Use Heat or Ice on Muscle Pain?

Whether to use heat or ice depends largely on the cause of your muscle pain.

Is your muscle pain due to an acute soft tissue injury for example a muscle strain, or muscle bruising? Was there trauma to the muscle, resulting in impact or penetration of the muscle? Or is the pain simply due to soreness after an intense workout?

These are the questions you want to be asking yourself when deciding whether heat or cold therapy is the course of treatment. Heat and ice provide pain relief for different types of muscle pain, however, depending on the cause of the pain, heat may be more effective than ice, and vice versa.

In these next sections, we outline when to use ice and when to use heat on muscle pain, and when a combination of the two could be your best option.

When to Use Heat

Heat therapy is also known as thermotherapy. It involves raising the temperature of the affected muscle to induce muscle relaxation and pain relief.

Different forms of heat therapy include:
• Reusable heat packs
• heating pads
• hot showers
• steam baths
• sauna (dry or wet heat)
• paraffin wax baths

During heat therapy, the temperature of the skin and soft tissues increases. This activates the body's various thermoreceptors, dilating blood vessels and activating pain receptors

Dilated blood vessels result in an increased blood flow, to the heated area. This helps flush out metabolic waste that is created as by-products of exercise, and supplies the injured or affected muscle with oxygenated blood and nutrients. This may support muscle recovery

Heat can be beneficial for muscle pain caused by:
• stiff muscles
• sore muscles (that are not swollen or inflamed)
• muscle spasms

If the muscle pain or injury is accompanied by any swelling or inflammation, it is best to avoid the use of heat until the swelling and inflammation subsides.

Moist heat may also be helpful in managing pain related to osteoarthritis. Older injuries that have extended pain symptoms can also benefit from heat therapy.

When to Use Ice
Ice is a form of cold therapy that involves exposure to colder temperatures in order to relieve pain. This includes using ice packs, doing ice massages, or submerging in an ice bath. Other forms of cold therapy include cold air exposure, such as whole-body cryotherapy

The application of ice lowers the skin's temperature at the area of application. This alerts the body's cold thermoreceptors to activate vasoconstriction activity. This is when the blood vessels constrict, becoming narrower, which helps to reduce blood flow to the skin, conserving body heat.

This vasoconstricting effect is particularly helpful in managing any inflammation and swelling that might occur after an injury. The narrowed blood vessels limit the flow of blood and other fluids to the injured area, minimizing swelling and inflammation surrounding the injury.

Ice application also impacts nerve conduction velocity, slowing the rate of nerve activity at the site. It can also slow the rate of pain signals firing in the brain. This may be why ice application seems to decrease one's perception of pain, increasing both pain threshold and pain tolerance

Ice may be beneficial in these scenarios:

• muscle strain or sprain
• swelling
• inflammation
• bruising
• inflammation in muscles surrounding a joint or tendon
• recent injuries (less than six weeks old)

This content is only for general awareness and not a replacement for medical advice.

Moov Cool is a pain relief solution inspired by Cold Therapy and acts via a different mode of action.

Thank you!

Please use coupon code FIRSTTIME to avail FLAT 10% Off.

*Min. order value INR 500.