When to use hot or cold for your neck or back pain
USE COLD PACK ON ACUTE INJURIES
Acute injuries are sudden, sharp, traumatic injuries that occur immediately (or within hours) and cause pain. Most often, acute injuries result from some sort of obvious impact or trauma such as:
Acute injuries have common signs and symptoms such as:
- skin that is warm to the touch
- swelling and inflammation
Apply ice to these areas for 10 minute intervals. This can be done multiple times a day.
USE HOT PACKS ON CHRONIC INJURIES
Chronic injuries can be subtle and slow to develop. They sometimes come and go; they may cause dull pain or soreness. They are often the result of overuse. They can sometimes develop when an acute injury is not properly treated and doesn’t heal.
Using ice and heat or alternating between the two can be effective. Heat sources can be applied to the injured areas for up to 15-20 minutes at a time.