View Full Version : hot vs cold for sore muscles?

December 11th, 2007, 04:32 PM
After a tough workout that leaves your muscles tight and sore what's the best use of a hot-tub, cold shower, and hot shower to help relax your muscles? I'm not sure if heat or cold is better, or alternating between the two. I recently sat in a hot-tub for 10 min, then took a cold shower after a workout and it seemed to help. Does starting with hot or starting with cold make a difference?

People often hold ice packs on their shoulders after a practice but I don't think taking a cold shower has the same effect.

December 11th, 2007, 04:42 PM
Hot shower, followed by a liberal application of Bio-Freeze.

December 11th, 2007, 09:01 PM
Both... a former massage therapist used to recommend loosening with heat, followed by ice, followed by more heat. The theory being, the heat dilates the blood vessels, then the ice contracts them again, etc., and all this expanding and contracting loosens a muscle that's in a very tight knot. I was badly seized up from a car accident at the time, and it seemed to work.

December 11th, 2007, 09:11 PM
My physio prescribed the contrast bath as a way to reduce swelling after I got the cast off my arm, and he swore it was an excellent treatment for arthritis as well.

December 13th, 2007, 12:04 PM
Depending upon the severity of the injury, ice should be applied for the first four days, (according to the Olympic Training Camp MD's) then heat may be applied. This is a constantly changing prescription so do your homework.

If simple soreness is the issue, a heating pad or warm bath is a nice way to relieve the stress or discomfort. I have had a severe back strain and found that ice did nothing for the pain. Our athletic trainer put some electo-stimulation along with clay-hot pads and WOW - the pain that physical massage and ice couldn't touch was gone. Good luck, Coach T

December 13th, 2007, 12:07 PM
thanks for the advice. It's more of a simple workout soreness feel versus an injury.