Cryotherapy is shown to be beneficial in managing inflammation and is most effective within 24-72 hours after the initial injury.
Heat therapy, on the other hand, works on increasing blood flow to the area. The increased in blood flow can help with:
- Improving healing and recovery.
- Reducing stiffness, spasm and pain.
- Improving flexibility of soft tissues.
Heat therapy is usually recommended for chronic pain or 72 hours after acute injury.
As we can see, both therapies can achieve natural pain relieve and help to accelerate the recovery process. As a general rule of thumb, ice works the best when it comes to fresh acute injury and heat is effective for reducing stiffness and spasm in long term injury.