Ice or Heat for Muscle Pain?

Sharon Rekieta, Fitness Director - 24th May 2013

After a challenging workout, an intense sports competition or a new activity, you might feel some muscle soreness.  This is normal and if the soreness is mild, you will probably go about your day without giving it a second thought.  However, if your muscles are talking to you with every move you make and interfering with even simple basic functions, it would be a good idea to find a way to alleviate the pain.

However, the question many people have when soothing sore muscles is whether to use heat or ice. Experts say ice is best for immediate relief when areas are swollen or inflamed.  Icing the sore area right after the activity constricts the blood vessels which reduces inflammation and blocks pain impulses from the brain.  Using heat later increases blood flow to the area which loosens tight or stiff muscles and relieves pain.