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Ice treatment can be used in the treatment of soft tissue injuries and rehabilitation. Evidence suggests it is best to avoid anti-inflammatories in the inital stages of healing, so wait until 2-3 days after an injury before using ice.

Ice will:

  • Reduce swelling

  • Reduce muscle spasm

  • Reduce pain by numbing the area

How to make an ice pack

Placing crushed ice in a plastic bag or wet tea towel (though ensure no sharp edges of ice are pressing into your skin). Take care when using ice as it can cause an ice burn if used directly onto the skin

How to use an ice packs

  • If skin is unbroken, rub a small amount of cream or oil over the area where the ice pack is to be placed

  • Alternatively, place a cold wet flannel over the area with the ice pack on top

  • Check your skin after 5 minutes - If bright pink/red remove the pack. If normal, replace the bag for a further five to ten minutes

  • If the skin is broken, or you have stitches, protect the area with a plastic bag to stop the wound getting wet

  • Ice should be left on skin for a maximum of 20 minutes. Ice can burn or cause frostbite if the skin is not protected with oil and/or other protection such as a wet flannel

When to apply ice

  • Wait 48 hours

  • Apply for between 5-20 minutes (5-10 minutes for a bony area)

  • Repeated every two to three hours during the day for next 24-48 hrs

Precautions When Using Heat & Ice

Avoid cold or heat if you any of the following:

  • Poor skin condition eg eczema

  • Lack of sensitivity to heat or cold

  • Poor circulation

  • Diabetes

  • An infection

  • Heart condition - avoid the left shoulder and arm


Avoid heat on a new injury (including hot baths, heat lamps, hot water bottles, deep heat cream). Heat increases bleeding, which therefore increases inflammation and pain.

After 48 hours, heat can be applied for up to 20 minutes in one area. The temperature should be warm rather than hot to avoid burns and scalding. Use a hot water bottle or heat pack over the area to be treated, ensuring it is warm rather than hot. Fold a tea towel and place under the hot pack to prevent blisters, burns and scalding

Heat can have a direct soothing effect and can help to relieve pain and muscular tension. Remember to check your skin at regular intervals to avoid burns

We can help

Whatever the cause of your back pain, our practitioners will identify the root cause and get you back to being pain free.

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