Knee supports can be extremely helpful, but this article is not intended to replace the advice of your physician. Many times people wonder whether to use ice or heat for a condition like neck pain or lower back pain. This can be a controversial topic. Often patients will be told by their family and friends to use the opposite of what I recommend to my patients. In general, when pain is present there is inflammation so we should use ice or cold to reduce swelling and pain.
If heat is inappropriately utilized during this inflammatory phase of healing, an increase in blood supply to the already swollen, injured area often results in an increase of pain. As long as pain is present, ice is usually safer and more effective. When we use ice or cold in our office we use gel-filled packs. We put them in the freezer and they get quite cold. However, they are too cold to put directly on the skin, so we use at least one layer of cloth cover between the ice pack and the skin. Flannel is a great material to use between the ice pack and skin, but any comparable cloth cover will do. Never put the ice pack directly on the skin.