If you read my last blog post on why you can heal pain with heat, you’re probably now confused and wondering why “cold” is used for the same thing?

Well I looked it up and discovered this.

Depending on the type of pain and/or injury, you can use cold or heat to heal or reduce pain.

Heat, as we discovered, is used to:

  • Apply heat to the surface of the pain thus increasing tissue elasticity and reducing your resting muscle tension, helping to relax those nasty painful knots. Useful for stress related pain.
  • Soothe and essentially anaesthetise irritated nerve-endings. Useful for toothache.
  • Increase blood flow to the painful area and bring more nutrients to the injured area.
  • Stimulate your natural metabolic rate so there is more energy available to quickly fix any injury.

To heal pain via heat is different to healing pain via cold (eg a cold compress).

Cold compresses:

  • are mostly used to reduce swelling
  • numb a painful area
  • reduce bleeding

When to use heat or cold to heal pain

Ultimately it depends on the type of injury sustained and/or source of pain.

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Inflammation (athritis etc)

  • Tight muscles
  • Neuralgia
  • Period pains

Cautions when using heat or cold to heal pain

  • Do not apply the cold or heat compress to the affected area for prolonged periods.
  • Keep a cloth between an ice pack and the skin
  • Do not use a compress if feeling drowsy

So there you have it – you can use heat or cold to heal pain (or at least reduce it) so you can get back to normality. The type of injury and/or source of pain will dictate which to use and 99% of the time your intuition will tell you too.