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Hot or cold? How to know whether to use a warm compress or a cold compress

Aches and pains, inflammation, sports injuries, stress or tension relief? The most popular question we are asked is which symptoms call for a cold compress and which require a hot or warm compress.

Here are a few guidelines to help you make the right choice, as well as solutions for specific ailments.

Use cold treatment for inflammation and swelling, as well as acute injuries or pain. An acute pain or injury is one that started up or occurred within the past day or two. It is usually the result of a sudden pain or trauma. Symptoms may include pain, tenderness, redness, warm skin and swelling. A cold compress reduces inflammation and eases pain by numbing the affected area.

Use heat therapy for chronic or recurring aches, muscle pain or stiffness. Chronic aches or injuries are those you’ve had for a long time. The pain may not be constant but may recur frequently. A hot or warm compress brings more blood to the area where it is applied. It will help reduce joint stiffness and muscle spasms and relieve tightness in muscles.

Here are suggestions for specific uses:

Knowing when to use cold therapy or heat therapy will significantly increase the success of the treatment. Bookmark this page so you’re in the know the next time you’re looking for relief!

Looking for hot or cold compress to meet your needs? Check out our complete Magic Bag line of hot/cold compresses.