Heat or ice: Back injury
If you’ve injured your back, a hot bath may sound like the ultimate cure-all. But according to Neel Anand, MD, clinical professor of surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles, California, that will only increase inflammation, making the pain worse. “Doctors recommend applying ice to the area for 20 minutes at a time during the first two or three days in order to decrease inflammation and pain.” These natural remedies for back pain may also help.
Heat or ice: Menstrual cramps
According to Yvonne Bohn, MD, ob-gyn at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, there’s no definitive support for using heat on menstrual cramps, but she does recommend it. “For menstrual cramps, we typically recommend heat either from a bath or heating pad to the pelvic area for menstrual pain opposed to ice,” she says. “One study compared heat to placebo and showed improvement with heat over the placebo. The mechanism is not completely understood, but theories include relaxation of smooth muscle of the uterus and increasing uterine blood flow.” Here are other ways to relieve menstrual cramps.