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Should you use ice or heat for an injury?

July 11, 2019

If your child sprains their ankle or you have stiff back muscles or arthritis, do you know what to do to ease the pain?

Applying an ice pack or a heating pad to the area is a common, medication-free way to treat injuries or conditions like these. However, ice and heat have different effects so it’s important to know when to use which method.

Watch this 90 second video for tips about using ice and heat from Dr. Brian P. Sutton, medical director at Baystate Urgent Care.

Find out:

  • When to apply ice and when to apply heat
  • Specific types of injuries or conditions to use ice or heat for
  • Why these methods help
  • How long to apply ice or heat for

If you're still unsure how to take care of an injury, talk to your doctor.

In an emergency, always call 911. If you need care but your condition won't get worse if not immediately treated, seek urgent care. Learn more about when to use emergency, urgent, and primary care.