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So you’re in pain. Should you ice it, or heat it?


So you’re in pain. Should you ice it, or heat it?

I see many patients where treatment can set them on their way to recovery, but some self-management of their symptoms would be beneficial.

Sometimes that involves painkillers, but masking the pain can lead to people performing the sort of actions which will make things worse, without noticing so much. Often, it involves me saying ‘you need to ice that’, or ‘you should get some heat on that’.

But which works in what situations? The heat or the ice?

Obviously, the heat is pleasanter, but that’s not the issue. So this handy guide from the Cleveland Clinic is useful. In short, use heat to ease stiffness, and ice to ease inflammation, but the longer version is – if you’ve been given a diagnosis or explanation of your issue and can’t remember what you were told to do, then use this guide. All generalist guides like this run the risk of not being bespoke to your condition, so don’t treat it as gospel and speak to your doctor, osteopath or chiropractor, but as an aide memoire, this could be very useful.



Osteopath in Streatham, South London. Treating back, joint and muscular pain.


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