General | March 23, 2023

Heat Vs Ice: Which Is Best, And When Should You Use It?

Avram Baldoria-PHYSIOTHERAPIST-Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy

In this blog, we will be exploring the benefits of using heat for injuries, as opposed to using ice. It’s a common misconception that ice is the best way to treat an injury, but there are actually several benefits to using heat instead. 

First and foremost, heat can help increase blood flow to the affected area. This can help promote healing by bringing vital nutrients and oxygen to the injured tissues. Additionally, heat can help reduce muscle spasms and stiffness, which can be particularly helpful for injuries such as strains and sprains. 

Another benefit of using heat is that it can help decrease pain levels. Heat works by stimulating the sensory receptors in the skin, which can help reduce the transmission of pain signals to the brain. This can be particularly helpful for chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, as well as acute injuries. 

There are several ways to apply heat to an injured area. Some of the most common methods include using a hot water bottle or heating pad, taking a warm bath or shower, or using a warm compress. It’s important to note that heat should never be applied directly to the skin, as this can cause burns. Instead, a towel or cloth should be used as a barrier between the skin and the heat source. 

It’s worth noting that there are some instances where ice may be more appropriate than heat. For example, if an injury has just occurred and there is significant swelling, ice may be used initially to help reduce inflammation. However, once the initial swelling has subsided, heat may be used to promote healing and reduce pain. 

In conclusion, while ice can be helpful in certain situations, there are several benefits to using heat for injuries. Heat can help increase blood flow, reduce muscle spasms and stiffness, and decrease pain levels. If you’re unsure whether to use heat or ice for a particular injury, you may speak to one of our osteopaths or our physiotherapist to see which suits your case best. 


  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Heat vs. Cold Therapy: What’s Best for Your Injury?
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. (2020, April). Heat therapy for muscle pain.
  3. Cleveland Clinic. (2016, July). When to Use Ice and When to Use Heat for Pain.
  4. Australian Physiotherapy Association. (n.d.). Hot or Cold? Which to Use for Injury.