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Both heat and cold can help reduce pain. However, it can be confusing to decide which is more suitable at any given time. These basic rules may help:
Use cold for acute pain (first 72 hours) or a new swollen/inflamed injury.
Use heat for chronic pain or an injury that is a 3 or more days old.
Ultimately, you need to choose what works best for you. If icing feels unpleasant, then heat may provide more comfort.
However, it is important to take the type of injury into account. Different types of injury need different treatments to heal properly. Ice and heat are not substitutes for medical evaluation and treatment.read more