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Using ice or heat seems to be the age old question. Many people are confused about this topic. Allow me to shed some light on this. In general, heat can be used to relax a muscle spasm, or perhaps give some comfort to arthritic hands. However, when patients come to me as a chiropractor, they are usually dealing with acute, painful conditions. Since many of these conditions are caused by spinal issues, neck or back problems, the pressure that is exerted on the spine often causes swelling. This swelling can compress the nerve of the spine causing reflex muscle spasms and pain. In this case, ice is used to reduce the swelling around the nerve. If the swelling is reduced, the muscle spasm and pain can start to alleviate. Of course, this simplies the whole issue, but in general this is the way it works. As always, ask your health care provider what is most appropriate for your individual condition.