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Ice or Heat? Hot or Cold? Which is Best for Injuries & Pain Relief?

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Hot & cold therapy can help the healing process during an injury, and it can also help reduce acute and chronic pain. But which one should you use? Here are some general rules for using hot verses cold. Buy a Medvice Reusable Hot & Cold pack at: https://amzn.to/3J1Z08Z (affiliate link)

With hot and cold therapy, there are certain times when one is better than the other, but there are always exceptions to the general rule, so make sure to check with your healthcare provider to see what will work best for you.

Heat therapy can help improve circulation and blood flow to an area by increasing the temperature. This can help relieve pain and increase muscle flexibility.

There are some precautions to heat therapy including conditions where you shouldn’t use it, so talk with your doctor to make sure it’s okay to use. Areas of significant bruising or open wounds should be avoided. Also, pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, vascular disease, DVTs, and MS should not use heat therapy due to higher risk of burns or complications due to heat application.

Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, works by reducing blood flow to an area. This can reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain. It can temporarily reduce nerve activity, which can also relieve pain.

As with heat therapy, there are some precautions for cold therapy, especially those with sensation and circulation issues. This includes diabetes, which can result in nerve damage and lessened sensitivity.

Cold therapy can be used right after an injury, or it can be used after a workout or therapy to calm everything back down.

Cold therapy should be used for shorter periods compared to heat therapy. Ten to 15 minutes is ideal, but no more than 20 minutes.


Doctor Jo is a Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy.

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Ice or Heat? Hot or Cold? Which is Best for Injuries & Pain Relief?

00:00 – Hot and Cold Therapy
00:24 - Hot or Heat Therapy
03:03 - Cold or Ice Therapy

DISCLAIMER: This content (the video, description, links, and comments) is not medical advice or a personalized treatment plan and is intended for general education and demonstration purposes only. Perform the moves in this content at your own risk. These moves may not be appropriate for your specific situation, so get approval and guidance from your own healthcare provider before beginning. If anything is painful or doesn’t feel right, stop immediately and contact your healthcare provider.

Don’t use this content to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, or physical condition. Don’t use this content to avoid going to your own healthcare provider or to replace the advice they give you. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Ask Doctor Jo, LLC, its officers, employees, and contractors for any and all losses, injuries, or damages resulting from any and all claims that arise from your use or misuse of this content. Ask Doctor Jo, LLC makes no representations about the accuracy or suitability of this content.

PRODUCT PLACEMENT DISCLAIMER: This video contains paid product placement. Thank you to Medvice for sponsoring this video and providing Doctor Jo with free Reusable Hot & Cold Packs to use.
hot therapy, cold therapy, heat therapy
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