It can sometimes be confusing whether to use heat or cold when treating sore muscles
or an injury. But keep these facts in mind.
Dampen a towel with warm (not scalding) water.
Put it on the affected area to ease muscle spasm.
Be sure to protect any type of heating pad device from coming in direct contact with
the skin. Take safety steps to prevent burns. This is even more important if you have
nerve damage, such as from diabetes or other health problems.
When muscles work, chemical byproducts are made that need to be removed. When exercise
is very intense, there may not be enough blood flow to remove all the chemicals. It's
the buildup of chemicals (for instance, lactic acid) that causes muscle ache. The
blood supply helps remove these chemicals. So use heat to help sore muscles after
Dampen a towel with cold water.
Fold it and place it in a plastic, sealable bag.
Place the bag in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove it from the freezer and place it on the affected area.
Put ice in a plastic, sealable bag.
Fill it partially with water.
Seal the bag, squeezing the air out of it.
Wrap the bag in a damp towel and put it on the affected area. Do not apply ice directly
to the skin.
When an injury or inflammation (such as tendonitis or bursitis) occurs, tissues are
damaged. Cold numbs the affected area, which can reduce pain and tenderness. Cold
can also reduce swelling and inflammation.