Ice Pack or Heating Pad?


At some point or another, you can expect to get injured…it’s just one of those things that happens. Hopefully you will be able to avoid serious injury, but it is often little things like strains and sprains that can lead to much larger issues. Chiropractic care is an excellent form of therapy to keep you healthy, and there are some measures you can take to promote better health, one of them being understanding when and how to use ice and heat for your injuries.

Whether it’s after a difficult day at the gym or from an overuse injury, knowing how to treat mild injuries will help you find relief. Here’s what you need to know:

Heating Pad Benefits

Heating pads can increase the flow of blood, which helps with paid reduction and relaxation. When experiencing general aches and pains, heating pads can be very useful. They may also help heal tissue that has been damaged because they improve circulation. If an area is swollen or bruised, avoid using a heating pad. Additionally, they should not be used on open wounds.

Ice Pack Benefits

If heating pads increase blood flow, what do you think ice packs do? If you said restrict blood flow, you are correct! Ice packs also reduce inflammation and are useful for injuries like strains, sprains, bruises, and swelling. You can apply an ice pack immediately after experiencing an injury or even as part of rehabilitation therapy. Keep in mind that if you apply an ice pack for too long, it can cause tissue or nerve damage.

How To Know When to Use Ice or Heat

Generally speaking, ice packs are ideal for acute pain and heating pads work best for chronic pain. However, each person is unique and may require a different approach to treatment. During your next appointment, ask us which option will work better for you. We’ll also be happy to provide useful tips and tricks.

Are There Risks?

Though not as risky as surgery, heating pads and ice packs do come with their own risks. If your injury is infected or bleeding, you should not use either form of therapy. Additionally, both can be dangerous for those that suffer from chronic health problems like diabetes. Avoid heating pads and ice packs if you have poor circulation and cardiovascular disease, and don’t fall asleep with either on your body. 

Let’s Talk Long-Term

Although heating pads and ice packs can provide you with temporary relief, they are not long-term solutions. Regular chiropractic adjustments along with self-care are your best bet for long-term relief. We can provide you with a specific plan for at-home treatment (like diet, exercises, and stretches) that can reduce your pain.

Still have questions about when to use heating pads or ice packs? Just ask during your next chiropractic adjustment. Our team will offer a personalized care plan unique to your needs and can answer all your questions about pain relief. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!