When to use Hot and Cold compress? When to use Hot and Cold compress?
Most of us know that using hot and cold compress can help in reducing pain as a result of muscle or joint injury or... When to use Hot and Cold compress?

Most of us know that using hot and cold compress can help in reducing pain as a result of muscle or joint injury or damage. We call it heat and cold therapy respectively. However, have you ever thought which one is better? Your questions will be answered by this post.

when to use hot or cold compress

Heat therapy

This is also called thermotherapy and this includes having a warm bath and using hot water bottle and pads.

Heat therapy is ideal for chronic pain and can help in relaxing the muscle. In fact, heat is known as psychologically reassuring too. Professionals advised to apply heat on the affected area for 20 minutes. You can repeat for three times a day but you should also check on the label and with your doctor on the exact frequency.

What are the types of heat therapy

Heating devices. You can purchase a number of heating devices nowadays. It includes hot water bottles, heat wrap, and even electrical heating pads.

Soaking in hot bath. Experts say that you can soak the affected area in hot bath between 92 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Paraffin wax treatment.

Rubs and patches.

When it is best to use heat therapy

  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Warm up stiff muscles
  • Chronic irritation
  • Pain caused by neck or back injury

Don’t use heat therapy when:

  • You have dermatitis
  • There is an open wound
  • The skin is already hot
  • The area is already numb
  • A person is insensitive to heat

Cold therapy

On the other hand, cold therapy is also known as cryotherapy. You can use a water bottle filled with cold water or you can use a pad cooled in a freezer.

This can help in reducing inflammation as it can decrease blood flow. You need to apply this two days after the injury. In addition, it can numb sore tissues which makes it as a local anesthetic. For sports injuries, we have a standard treatment called RICE or ‘rest, ice, compression, elevation’.

What are the types of cold therapy

Chemical cold pack. You can easily purchase these packs and can be applied to the inflamed area for 20 minutes. Do this every six hours for three days and you should feel better.

Soaking in cold water. You can immerse the affected area in cold water. Make sure it isn’t freezing though.

Massaging with ice cube. Yes, you can also massage the inflamed area with ice cube or pack. Do it in a circular motion and repeat for five times a day. Limit it to five minutes as you wouldn’t want to experience ice burn.

When it is best to use cold therapy

  • Injury
  • Tendinitis
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis

Don’t use cold therapy when:

  • There is an open wound
  • The area is already numb
  • You are hypersensitive to cold

Remember, you should never use extreme hot compress. Similarly, applying ice directly on your skin is never recommended. And again, it is always best to approach a professional so you can keep safe at all times.

You might want to share this article with your friends and help them alleviate pain.



Barbara is a young mother of 2 adorable kids whom she enjoyed playing with. She started living healthy when she realized that she has to keep up with her kids' energy. On her free time, she writes, sings, and tries to cook pancake for her children.

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