There is a lot of confusion of whether to apply ice or heat to an injury. The best way to remember is to think. Ice is for Injury, Heat is for Muscles
Ice helps to reduce inflammation, heat, redness & swelling.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect an injury, but it can cause pain and limit range of motion. By applying ice to an injury it reduces the amount of inflammation resulting in less pain.
Heat helps to take the load off issues like muscle aching, stiffness, muscular tension, trigger points & chronic pain.
*Pain that is chronic is any pain that has been present for more than 12 weeks. When you suffer from chronic condition it causes pain, anxiety & stress due to the long nature of the condition. By applying heat to chronic pain it helps to soothe the muscles & the nervous system.
When not to Ice or Heat
Both ice and heat have the opposite effect on the body, so it’s important you use them correctly. Ice will make muscles tight & stiff and heat will make inflammation worse, both of these situations are not good for your body when using incorrectly.
They are both useless if they are not required, for example; if you are shivering cold it isn’t wise to then add ice to the body as the brain will see it as a threat and will cause more pain.
If in doubt
If your unsure that you injury is muscle based or not, the best port of call is to ice the area the first few days after injury to reduce the inflammation, once the inflammation is visibly less switch over to heat.
At the end of the day its your body so you need to do what feels right for you, if you don’t like it, switch it.