That being said, if not used properly or using one when the other is a much better choice can worsen symptoms. Here's what I mean: If using the heat or ice pack directly on the skin can cause a skin burn. Also, using heat when there's inflammation can cause more inflammation to the surface, thus worsening symptoms.
Now, when is heat recommended and when is ice called for? Ice, we want to use when there is inflammation. This is typically when an injury first happened or is in what we call "acute". Use heat to loosen and relax an area. First thing in the morning when muscle and joints are tighter from being in one or two positions primarily, through the night.
So this is what I would do: let that morning hot shower soak on the area for an extra few minutes. In addition, break out that heat pack and put on the area for another 10 minutes.
At the end of the day is typically when inflammation has accumulated in a region. During the day you do a certain amount of tasks and to-do's that may irritate things and cause that inflammation to rise.
What works best for heat and ice therapy. I love these gel packs we have now which can be either hot or cold therapy. Put in the microwave for a few minutes for a hot pack and put it in the freezer for a cold pack.
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