Health Tip of the Week: Soothing Pain – Apply Ice or Heat


My patient asked me “I sprained my ankle yesterday, so I applied a heat pack to my ankle. After a moment, I felt my condition getting worse, more painful, more swollen and more red. But I remembered last year I had lower back pain and I used a heat pack and it helped!”

To use ice or heat?

It depends on your pain. Generally, if it is acute pain, use ice in the first two days and then use heat.

If it is chronic pain, use heat. But after 2 days, if it is still inflamed, you still need to use ice.

Whenever you apply heat and feel uncomfortable, stop it and change to ice. This is a more accurate way to determine wheter or not you should apply ice or heat.

-Dr. Chun-Ming Fu

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