Hot vs. Cold Compress Myth: The Truth About When to Use Each for Various Conditions

ice pack or hot pack

Hot & Cold Therapy

How and when to use for effective relief and to promote natural healing.

Using Hot or Cold therapy on injuries or aches and pains is very common but can be confusing. This leaflet explains when to use each form of therapy, for how long and how often to get the best results.


The ’20 – 20 – 2’ rule

There’s a good rule of thumb when using Hot or Cold therapy and that is to apply each for 20 minutes maximum, any longer could damage the soft tissue, this should be followed by a 20-minute break and then you can repeat the cycle up to a maximum of 2 hours.

Once the 2 hours is complete then take a break for several hours before repeating the cycle again if required.


Can I use Hot and Cold together?

It can be a good idea to cycle Hot and Cold therapy, this is usually best when applied to more chronic issues (that have been long-standing).


Use Cold to REDUCE inflammation in joints or muscles.

Cold works by making the blood vessels smaller, therefore reducing the blood flow into an area, inflammation is not always a bad thing, but often needs to be reduced.

When to use ICE

1)     Following a Chiropractic visit

2)     Immediately after an injury

3)     When the area feels swollen, hot or throbbing



Use Heat to RELAX tight muscles and increase inflammation

Heat works by increasing the size of the blood vessels, therefore increasing blood flow to an area and warming muscles.

Note: Inflammation is the body’s natural response to heal,

please ensure you use a warm (not excessively Hot) as it could cause burns or aggravate any existing inflammation.

When to use HEAT

1)     Following a Massage visit

2)     On muscles that are stiff or tight.

3)     In chronic injuries that are not swollen, hot or throbbing


You can purchase Hot and Cold pack ‘KoolPack’ at our reception.
Come to Wellbeing Chiropractic Health Centre if you’re truly passionate about your health and wellbeing. Our team of dedicated professionals is here to guide you on your journey to optimal health, providing personalised care and support every step of the way.
We are located at Blisworth Hill Farm just outside Northampton.
Image by Vidal Balielo Jr.
Hot vs. Cold Compress Myth: The Truth About When to Use Each for Various Conditions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top