Apply Heat or Ice to Pain?

Should You Apply Heat or Ice to an Injury?

Apply Heat or Ice to Pain?

Athlete tying shoe at Anoka Acupuncture


I often get this question from patients.

The answer is: It depends who you ask…


Acupuncturists will say to apply heat to the aching area; Chiropractors and PT’s will say to apply ice.


My answer is: It depends How Long after the Injury

My other answer is: (After a couple of days)  It depends How You as an Individual Respond.


What I tell my patients is…


Within 24-48 hours Post-Injury:

Apply Ice.

Apply ice* to the area of sprain or strain or bruised area within the first 24-48 hours.

This is because it will help keep swelling and inflammation down.

A friend of mine lives in the UP.

She sprained her ankle.

…She was a lucky duck to be at the beach… on the BIG Lake (Superior)

…She was a smart enough duck to realize getting into this natural ice bath would keep it from becoming a balloon!

She was able to put her shoes back on because the foot had not become enormous from swelling.


     *Be sure to use a protective barrier like a washcloth between your skin and the ice.

     *Be sure to limit time it is applied to avoid skin damage.


After 1-2 days:

Apply Heat.

The reason acupuncturists like using heat instead of ice with injuries is that cold congeals. Cold makes the muscle clench up.

That is what we are trying to avoid.

…This is why we like to take a hot shower or

Get in the hot tub to relax.


No one says, “Who wants to get in the Cold tub!?”


Muscle spasms due to over-working and injuries, old and new like heat. Heat relaxes. Heat loosens up tight muscles.

Except within the first 24-48 hours (use ice then).


How does Heat or Cold Work on You?

After 24-48 hours, it depends whether or not heat or cold helps you as an individual.

Everyone is different. Ice may really help one person, whereas another may find it worsens symptoms, even after 24-48 hours.


Did you know?-Acupuncture is good for helping heal more quickly after a sprain or strain?


Thanks for Reading!

Written by Aleesha Ackerman, Lac

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Read 10 Things Acupuncture Treats Here


Aleesha Ackerman is a certified and state licensed acupuncturist with a Master’s degree in acupuncture. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree from Hamline University. Aleesha owns and operates Aleesha D Acupuncture clinic for Pain and Women’s Health in Anoka, MN.

She became interested in acupuncture and holistic medicine when acupuncture cured her of debilitating migraine pain after an auto collision with a semi-truck. Aleesha specializes in treating acute and chronic pain and Women’s Health. Women come to her everyday with issues such as hot flashes, mood imbalance and low energy. Read more about Aleesha and what she specializes in Here.


Patients at Aleesha D Acupuncture report feeling cared for, listened to and are happy to get the much-needed pain and stress relief from their treatments!

Aleesha treats pain, energy, and digestion successfully by treating the root cause and by treating the whole individual.

Why wait? Start Your Relief Today- contact Aleesha D Acupuncture in Anoka today to schedule your appointment!


Feel Better, Move Forward

Aleesha D Acupuncture is located in historic downtown Anoka at 229 Jackson St.



This article is not intended to replace any health care. No information on this site should be relied on to determine medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. As with any health concerns, always be sure to consult your health care provider with any health concerns.

Licensed Acupuncturist in Anoka Serving Andover, Anoka, Big Lake, Champlin, Circle Pines, Columbus, Coon Rapids, Dayton, East Bethel, Elk River, Forest Lake, Fridley, Ham Lake, Isanti, Lino Lakes, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Now Then, Oak Grove, Osseo, Ostego, Ramsey, Saint Francis, Saint Paul, Shoreview, Spring Lake Park, Vadnais Heights and White Bear Lake.

Zip codes we treat: 55304, 55303, 55309, 55014, 55316, 55433, 55448, 55327, 55330, 55432, 55040, 55401, 55402, 55403, 55404, 55406, 55407, 55408, 55409, 55410, 55411, 55412, 55413, 55416, 55418, 55419, 55421, 55422, 55011, 55311, 55369, 55102, 55103, 55104, 55105, 55106, 55107, 55108, 55101, 55109, 55110, 55111, 55113, 55114, 55116, 55117, 55120, 55124, 55125, 55115, 55118, 55119, 55121, 55122, 55123, 55126, 55129, 55130, 55146, 55127, 55128, 55133, 55144, 55145, 55155, 55164, 55165, 55166, 55166, 55168, 55170, 55175, 55187, 55188, 55171, 55172, 55014, 55025, 55371, 55398, 55308, 55960


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