Moist Heat or Ice?

Yalich Clinic – Moist Heat or Ice?

Moist Heat or Ice?

The Eternal Question…

A question commonly asked by patients is should I use moist heat or ice? We are hoping to remove the mystery of this with the following information:

If the pain is either very strong, throbbing, stabbing or sharp these are indications of either nerve or muscle inflammation. Also used in acute injury. In these cases, ice is most effective.

If the pain is a dull ache which is hard to locate and associated with muscular tightness, this is indicative of muscular spasm. Also used in chronic pain. In these cases, heat is usually most effective.


Ice is generally recommended to be used from 15-20 minutes on, with at least 15-20 minutes off until the area warms or until normal sensation returns. Repeat as needed. This usage is based on your discomfort.

Moist Heat may be used for 15-20 minutes on and approximately 20-60 minutes off between applications. This usage is based on your discomfort.


  • First 24-72 hours (acute) of any new injury use ICE. The following 72 hours either may be used, if an absence of inflammation.
  • If either ice or heat is irritating, discontinue immediately until you consult with your Doctor.
  • Use moist heat, NOT dry heat.
  • A convenient ice pack is made by freezing a water filled zip-lock bag, flat like a magazine.
  • When using ice, cover the ice pack with a moist towel. Do not let it directly contact the skin.
  • Other forms of ice usage include ice massage (no more than 5 minutes) and immersion in ice water (55-65 degrees). Consult your Doctor for proper use


Using these guidelines, hopefully will make it easier for you, the patient, to decide whether to use heat or ice. If you have any specific questions, please ask your Doctor.

These are recommended as general guidelines and should not be considered as total treatment.

Chiropractic Care

The important fact to remember is the quicker you address and take care of an injury, the quicker it will resolve. The longer you let things go, the longer the healing process.

Physical Therapy

Every injury is different and treatment plans should be individualized to meet each person's needs. Here at the clinic, we pride ourselves on just that.

New Patients

Your treatment will be individualized to you and your specific needs. It is then explained in detail, allowing you to be fully involved in your own recovery.


Have one of our doctors be your next speaker at your next league or team meeting. They can be designed for coaches,parents, or even involve the kids!