Cold vs Heat Packs

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When do you know which one to use?


Often times when we have practice members who come in to see us, we either use the heat pack on them or “ice them down” before we start our treatments. What is the significance of doing that and when would you use a cold or heat pack?

In a short, a cold pack is used when there is inflammation and a heat pack is used when there is no inflammation. When a practice member comes in for an injury that just happened, we use a cold pack. However, if someone comes in with some tight and stiff muscles, we use a heat pack.

IMG_7057 Cold packs like these don’t cost too much. It can be found at your local pharmacy.



What is the science behind it? The heat from the heat pack opens up the blood vessels and allows for the increase of blood flow, supplying oxygen to the affected area. This then reduces the pain and relaxes the muscles which would also decrease muscles spasms. If you’re feeling stressed out at work and you’re having tight muscles around your shoulders, the use of a heat pack would come as a great relief.

IMG_7056 The heat packs we use in-house are handmade, organic and natural, holding the heat much longer. They can be purchased at our clinic.



On the other hand, the cold pack slows down blood flow to the affected area, reducing the pain and swelling. The slowdown to the blood circulation will then reduce inflammation, bruising and pain. This is why it’s common to see the use of cold/ice packs on the sidelines of any sporting events.

Using the wrong type of pack for the affected areas could potentially aggravate the pain further. Inflammations could get worse and can cause muscles to spasm up. So it’s sometimes good to come see us if something happens and if you’re unsure of what to do.

With the basic knowledge highlighted here, you should be able to do the necessary when an injury occurs. However, if it doesn’t get any better after a couple of days, why not make an appointment to come see us and we’ll help put you on the road to recovery.