Ohh the great question of when to use ice and when to use heat for pain. This topic has been debated back and forth time and time again. It reminds me of the “eggs are good, no eggs are bad” debacle that no one seems to agree on.
I myself almost always recommend ice. That’s because as a chiropractor I am usually seeing more acute injuries. The one thing most doctors and chiropractors can agree on is that you should rarely ever use heat on an acute injury. When you do have an injury, the area affected sees an increase in inflammation and swelling. Now when you use heat you dilate or open up the blood vessels which will bring in more fluid. The thing is you do not want more fluid in the area as it will lead to even more inflammation and swelling. This is where ice is great. Ice constricts or closes down the blood vessels which in turn pumps out the fluid so your body can get rid of it.
A great infographic I found on the topic is provided by the Cleveland Clinic. Click here to take a look at the detailed infographic as it breaks when you should use ice or heat.