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If you’re dealing with sore, aching muscles or a painful injury, you may not know the best ways to treat them. While warm and cold compresses are useful for decreasing pain, they can produce different results. Our team at Massapequa Pain Management & Rehabilitation would like to share the best times to use ice or warm compresses for pain, so continue reading to learn more!

Ice vs. Warm Compresses

You can treat everything from inflammation to pulled muscles to arthritis with ice packs or warm compresses. Treating your pain with these methods can be highly effective and easily affordable. The only challenge is knowing what situations call for cold and which call for hot. 

Warm Compress 

A warm compress can be used to apply heat to a particular area on the body and can be dry or moist. Warm compresses encourage blood flow to an injured area by dilating blood vessels. Increased blood circulation to tissues helps loosen stiff muscles and tendons, ease soreness, and accelerate the healing process by delivering nutrients to the area. Here are some instances where you should use a warm compress:

  • Muscle ache or spasm.
  • Neck stiffness
  • Tender, swollen, or stiff joints.
  • Back pain
  • Muscle injuries

Many people use warm compresses after an injury, but heat before activity can help relax your muscles and minimize muscle soreness. 

Ice Packs

Ice packs cause blood vessels to contract in the injured area, which helps reduce localized swelling and inflammation. Ice can also help numb injured tissues and reduce pain. Ice packs are best used at the onset of an injury, as they help reduce swelling and pain. Some instances where an ice pack can help include:

  • Acute injuries
  • Muscle strains
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendonitis 
  • Migraines

Unlike heat packs, you should not use ice directly before playing sports or vigorous exercise. 

Contact Us

If you’ve experienced an injury that does not improve with conservative cold or warm compresses, our team at Massapequa Pain Management & Rehabilitation is here to help! Our experts will evaluate your injury and determine the best course of action to get you back to an active and pain-free lifestyle! Contact us today to learn more and request an appointment!