Icing or Heating ??

Which has worked best for you ? Ice packs or heat packs?

I shudder at the thought of applying coldness to joints. I'm 'old school' whereby heat was a cure all however, the past week or so has seen some proper heat radiating from areas of skin, swollen knees and fingers which has been great because I didn't want to switch the heating on :) but it also has me thinking ... 'wait, should that be that hot?'

So before I begin defrosting bags of frozen peas about my person I just wondered if my fellow arthritics had experienced much success with Icing?

And if so, which kind of icing? Peas? sprays? climbing into freezer? outside naked in minus six degrees? Cryogenically frozen? (sorry, am being facetious) what products might work best?

thanks for your time :)


  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 390


    Alternating between hot and cold increases the blood flow so should reduce pain and swelling.

    I've used a combination of freezer packs peas and cold spray in the past with my wheat bags or hot hands depending on area I'm treating.

    Trying to keep costs low I would go for freezer packs as you can get them in different sizes or wheat bags that you can freeze or heat up accordingly.

    Guide luck trish

  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,300

    Hi Movingslowly,

    I know what you mean re ice packs etc 🥶. I definitely prefer applying heat.

    However I do use both. Ice packs are good for swelling, inflammation, bruising, if I fall over. Also after a remedial massage or if over done it.

    Heat packs are good for aching or tense muscles, helping to relax and also to warm up before exercise.

    I use wheatie bags I heat in the microwave and ice packs I keep in the freezer.

    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • RogerBill
    RogerBill Member Posts: 222

    Some years ago I got a belt (I think from Amazon) to fit around my waist for back pain that came with two gel packs. The gel packs can be either frozen or microwaved. It's ideal for experimenting with hot and cold and I've used the belt, which is attached with velcro for hip, thigh and shoulder pain. Alternating between hot and cold is said to work best but generally I prefer heat.

  • Sheelee
    Sheelee Member Posts: 152

    Hi Movingslow,

    I invested in 2 wheaty bags. One I keep in the freezer; one I put in the microwave.

    I have times when the heat radiates from parts of my body. I then use the cold bag.

    If its soreness without too much inflammation I use the warm bag.

    For inflammation, there is also ibuprofen, and if you're already taking it, ensuring you are taking the full dose. I only take 800mg on a regular basis. I can take 1200mgs, so that extra dose I take if I'm having real difficulties. I also keep some of the ibuprofen gel in. You can them apply that to the area particularly troublesome at any moment. Bit you need to ensure, if mixing tablets and gel, that you remain within the recommended daiky allowance.

    Hope that helps.

    Happy New Year,


  • Keef
    Keef Member Posts: 594

    Outside naked always works for me, ahh no sorry that’s a different forum…..

    I was always heat heat heat. I always felt worse cold and on long cold motorcycle rides at work I always defrosted once home with a hot hot hot bath.

    however my osteo always says go home ice it and rest for at least an hour. I have tried ice as I always try to keep to her plan but it never feels right doing the cold when I feel like doing the opposite. It has had good results though.

    probably not much help. Lol.

  • movingslowly
    movingslowly Member Posts: 64

    Brilliant 😄

    Am currently pondering, 'Can't I just eat cold stuff instead?' Ice cream? Sorbet?

    Put it on my joints and lick... no wait, that's for that other forum and besides, If it were possible I'd consider myself cured 👌🏼

    I find it odd that I would gladly apply heat to my skin but dread applying icy stuff.

    But hey, I'm desperate enough to give it a whirl 🙂