heat or ice?

I am confused!
When should I use ice and when should I use heat?

...and why?

All advice gratefully received...


  • I use ice if I have any muscular or joint injury after exercise. the idea of the ice, I think is to keep any swelling under control. It is best used as soon as the injury occurs if possible.

    I have also used cold water baths and showers to help recovery after long or hard runs, this again reduces any muscular tears sustained during the run.

    Not so sure about the heat though. I would imagine there is some sort of alternating ice, rest, heat, rest session somewhere but I have never tried that.
  • If using ice, either get an ice wrap from a chemist or put cubes in a towel and hold that against the injury - never put ice in direct contact with the skin! Keep the wrap there for 10 mins than have 10 to 20 mins without and repeat.
  • Cripes!
    That sounds worse than the actual injury!!

    So would you never use things like deep Heat or Ralgex?

    If you have a cold bath or shower, do you then have a normal one to get the blood flowing again, or do you just leave it so that the muscle fibres stay contracted?
  • cold /ice constricts the vessels around the site of an injury to reduce the bleeding in the tissue and reduce swelling

    heat will improve circulation and shouldnt therefore be used on new injuries (muscle strains and tears ) as it may worsen the swelling

    hest is useful later tho

    things like Ralgex are heat stimulating topically ..on the surface of the skin and are good for warming generally but dont really get deep into muscles .. although massage will improve this and warm baths

    dont know whether there is any evidence that Deep heat etc does improve deeper circulation but some people do fingd it useful to warm cold /stiff muscles but i would guess it is the massage that does more for this
  • What Buney said.

    I would have a cold bath/shower usually only after a long run. It does actually help alleviate any pain from the run. This is of course after stretching and cooling down properly. it's not that bad, just lower yourself in a bit at a time and if you are not up to a cold bath then try a cool one to start with and add more cold water once you are in.

Sign In or Register to comment.