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When to use Heat or Ice?

Updated: May 24, 2022

This is a question we get asked from clients in the clinic everyday. We’ve made it quick and convenient for you to decide what situations to use a heat or cold pack. In this blog post we’ll share also an easy way to apply it whilst still being able to get on with your day.

When to apply a heat or a cold pack?

How to apply?

Typically we recommend using either for 1 hour cycles broken up into 20 minute intervals to minimise skin irritation. Repeat this throughout the day every 3-4 hours and especially before or after activity.

  • 20 minutes on

  • 20 minutes off

  • 20 minutes on

Easy ways to apply?

❓ So how do you apply it to the injured area and still start your road to recovery ASAP?

💡Wrap your pack in a compression garment or stocking/long-length sock (tubigrip/compression bandage used here).

✅ This allows you to move freely when completing day-to-day tasks and rehab exercises, whilst still maintaining the benefits of heat/ice!

Considerations when using a heat or ice pack

Always look for skin reactions when applying heat or cold packs. To minimise this wrap the pack in a paper towel if your skin is sensitive to direct heat or cold. If any abnormal pain, swelling or blistering occurs on application, remove immediately from the skin.

Written by: Eugene Lu

M. Phty, B. Ex Phys. (AEP) (AES)


Dehghan, M., & Farahbod, F. (2014). The efficacy of thermotherapy and cryotherapy on pain relief in patients with acute low back pain, a clinical trial study. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 8(9), LC01–LC4.

Malanga GA, Yan N, Stark J. Mechanisms and efficacy of heat and cold therapies for musculoskeletal injury. Postgrad Med. 2015 Jan;127(1):57-65.

#heat #icepack #pain #pain-free #painmangement #therapy #physio #exercise #x10physio #extendyourself

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