Ice should be applied every two to three hours for inflammation. Continue as needed for seven to ten days, or more. However, consult your health care professional if you feel no relief or if symptoms appear, such as constant or increased pain, significant loss of mobility, disturbed sleep or absence of improvement, even after rest and immobilization.
Avoid applying heat during the acute inflammatory stage, as it can contribute to the inflammation. Once cold has done its work and inflammation has disappeared, heat therapy can be used to relieve mild pain and help repair tissues.
When you don’t know whether to apply heat or cold, try cold first during ten to fifteen minutes. If there is no improvement, apply heat for a period of 20 to 30 minutes. The best course of action, however, is to see your health care professional, physiotherapist or pharmacist.