Placeholder banner image 2 - Hansplast India

Ice Packs v/s Heat Packs For Pain – What Works Best?

3 min. read
Show More
No matter our fitness level, we all experience muscle pain from time to time, be it from overexertion or a minor injury. These minor muscle pains can be treated with a heat pack or a cold pack, without the need for ointments.

When to use ice or heat for pain?

Both ice and heat can ease the pain but in different ways. Heat therapy increases blood flow to the affected area and relaxes the tight muscles.

In comparison, ice relieves pain by reducing inflammation, muscle spasms, and blood flow. This benefits the healing process because lesser circulation causes your blood vessels to shrink, which reduces swelling and bleeding.

So, as a general rule, 

  • Use ice for acute pain along with inflammation and swelling
  • Heat for muscle pain and stiffness.

Ice or heat for different muscle pains

Knee pain

Following an acute sprain or a tear, ice to the knee can reduce pain and help prevent swelling.

  • Apply an ice pack directly over the affected area for 20 minutes.
  • Use a towel as a barrier to making temperature tolerable.

But when it comes to arthritis, treating the joint with a hot pack can help reduce pain. Additionally, exposing the affected part to moist heat, like a soak in a tub of warm water, loosens the knee muscles and relieves the pain.

Back pain

Back pain usually occurs due to overexertion of the muscles while exercising or long working hours. 

Between hot vs cold compress, back muscles benefit more from hot compress as it helps relieve stiffness. Applying heat plasters like Hansaplast Capsicum Plaster around the affected area provides pain relief.

Shoulder pain

Injuries like fractures and dislocations, strains and other inflammatory conditions can cause terrible shoulder pain. Alleviate it by-

  • Placing an ice pack on the affected region on the shoulder for 15-20 minutes to relieve swelling. 
  • Resting your shoulders for 2-4 weeks to avoid further inflammation.

Understanding when to use ice or heat will improve the effectiveness of the pain treatment.Regardless of the type of pain you are experiencing, see your doctor immediately if it gets intolerable.

Experiencing back pains? Learn how to prevent and relieve lower back pain.


Please note that the above recommendations are general care tips. Consult a health care professional in case of any uncertainty around wound treatment and healing.

Always see your doctor if a wound is deep, bleeding profusely, or showing infection signs. For diabetic patients especially, proper wound care holds the utmost importance. Do not hesitate to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor or your podiatrist, even when minor wounds and cuts – especially if they’re on your feet.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Although compiled with great care, it is not a substitute for professional advice. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult your doctor immediately. 

For further information regarding Hansaplast products, please contact us via email at