Ice vs Heat for Treating Bursitis

When dealing with bursitis pain it's hard to know what treatment will work best for you. You might be wondering if ice and heat will work for you. Or maybe even which will work better - ice OR heat.

Icing and heating are 2 of the simplest and most natural treatment options available. Compared to medications, surgery and other treatment methods - icing and heating have been around for centuries and have always been used for bursa injury healing as a means to soothe and heal.

We understand that it can get pretty confusing to figure out what conservative treatment method will work best with all of the treatment options available to you today. To get started, you should think about the benefits you'll get from using these therapies.

Use ice and heat to deal with bursitis pain.

What's Better to Treat Your Bursitis: Ice or Heat?

Ice and heat are the best treatment combination for you if:

  • You're looking to heal bursitis quickly and want to boost the natural power of pain relief and healing in your body.
  • You want to minimize the cost of injections, medications, hospital visits or surgery.
  • You want to minimize the time needed for long-term healing (and get back to work quickly)
  • You want to reduce the chance of re-injuring your bursa.
  • You want to reduce the chance of secondary injuries that long term bursitis can bring.
  • You want to control your own treatment and healing at home, on your own time.
  • You're looking for a tried, tested, and true method of healing that's been used for centuries and has worked for countless other bursitis pain sufferers.

What's better for your bursa injury? Ice or heat?

Combining cold and warmth is a simple yet effective way to get immediate pain relief and promote long-term healing. In your lifetime you've probably had your mom, family doctor, nurse, surgeon or PT tell you to use ice right after you're injured and something warm from time to time once the swelling's gone down. It's a simple yet very effective way to relieve pain and promote healing in your injured bursa.

Bursitis injuries can happen to anyone, and right now there are thousands of doctors and PTs dealing with patients that require a solution to treat their injured bursa fast and heal it (where possible). If you want to be proactive about properly dealing with your bursitis pain, speak to your doctor about adding conservative temperature treatments to your recovery with AidMyBursa's system using a Cold Compress or Ice Pack, MendMeShop Arnica Pain Cream, and Circulation Boost via the T•Shellz Wrap®.

These tools will help you achieve long-term healing results while aiding in the prevention of re-injury and/or secondary injuries

Note: If you have an Acute (recent, inflamed) Soft Tissue Injury, Do Not Use Heat.

Your doctor knows that the sooner cold is applied, the quicker you can reduce inflammation and achieve real pain relief. This will help reduce the chance of a much longer lasting chronic injury. Heat and inflammation are a bad mix and should not be used together. Heat is good at the spa - it will help your body relax, but when it comes to a swollen injury it is not a good idea.

When To Use Cold:

A Cold Compress or Ice Pack work best to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation for new injuries, re-injury and during immediate post surgery recovery. A Cold Compress or Ice Pack should also be used during the first 24 - 72 hours of treatment, combined with resting your injury.

  • 24 to 72 hours after your initial injury or when you first notice pain and swelling to stop tissue damage, relieve pain, and decrease swelling.
  • After exercise, workouts or activity of any kind to prevent re-injury.
  • Before and after surgery during rehabilitation to control pre and post-surgery pain and swelling.
  • Anytime you feel your bursitis swelling has flared up (probably due to activity).
  • Anytime you have swelling, sharp throbbing pain or inflammation.
  • Any other situation where you need to draw the pain and inflammation out of your bursa and surrounding tissue.

Use a T•Shellz Wrap®:

  • After swelling and inflammation have been reduced with cold compression.
  • BEFORE getting out of bed in the morning. BEFORE going to bed at night.
  • BEFORE exercise, workouts or activity of any kind to increase elasticity of tissue in the area which in turn reduces your risk of further injury/re-injury.
  • Anytime you feel your bursa site may have stiffened up, is tight and your mobility is reduced causing you more pain.
  • Anytime you have sore or aching tissue as long as there is not substantial swelling.
  • AFTER surgery (once the skin wound has healed over and swelling has reduced - basically at least 6 weeks after the surgery) to boost blood circulation, helping surgically repaired tissues recover for long-term health and minimize scar tissue growth at the surgery location.
  • Anytime BEFORE you feel you might undertake activity that will put significant strain on the injury area.
  • Any other situation where you need to increase blood flow to relax your tissue, relieve pain, prevent re-injury and enhance flexibility in the area.

Here Are A Couple Of Examples For When To Use Cold (Ice) Or Heat:

You have a knee bursitis injury that's been on-going for quite some time.

You're having a "good day" (your injury is feeling fine) and decide to head out for some grocery shopping. You realize afterwards that was a bad idea because your bursitis is even more painful than the day before.

You should use COLD on your knee bursitis to stop further damage to your bursa and help ease the pain. Once the pain and swelling is gone, use a Knee T•Shellz Wrap® a couple times daily to get rid of the old injury, decrease joint immobility and decrease reinjury risk.

You have a painful case of a wrist bursitis.

You're in the kitchen making a cup of tea and reach in your cupboard to get a mug. You forgot about your injury because it's no longer hurting, but oops... Reaching for that mug just reminded you about your wrist injury with a sharp pain / twinge. You stop and ask someone else to retrieve the mug for you (you stopped the activity that will cause more inflammation).

The pain was temporary and if there is no inflammation, NO cold compression is needed.. In this case heat (via the Wrist TShellz Wrap) should be used to encourage blood flow to soft tissue in the injury area.

Use cold after any sort of activity causes you on-going pain.

When Should You Use Heat For Bursitis?

Heat / warming temperature treatments work best to increase blood flow circulation and reduce risk of a cyclic injury process. Warmer temperatures should be used approximately 3 to 5 days after you first have the injury once initial swelling has calmed down. For post-surgical recovery, heat should not be started for a least 2 weeks after surgery because inflammation levels will be very high as the healing process starts over again. Any use of heat should also be combined with gradual movement to stretch out your shoulder with the intent of increasing range of motion (or at least preventing further atrophy and soft tissue shortening due to lack of use).

Pes Anserine Bursitis Treatment View TShellz Wrap

If you have a chronic bursitis injury that won't seem to go away, you should use heat before activity to loosen up soft tissue in the joint (making it more flexible). This treatment is shown to increase the elasticity (flexibility) of the soft tissue in and around the treatment area; further to this, heat will also lengthen soft tissue. The benefits of increased length and flexibility of soft tissue mean it will be more pliable for activity and less likely to re-injure (important).

Sometimes we feel pain while doing a certain activity - and this should generally be avoided during your recovery as substantial pain during activity may mean you are making your injury worse. Applying a heat treatment in the morning before you start your day or before activity can help to boost blood-flow and reduce risk of further strain or injury as heat is known to both elongate and increase flexiblity in soft tissue. So basically, heat up the area with a T•Shellz Wrap® BEFORE the activity to loosen up the soft tissue; since it is more limber and flexible, you are less likely to experience injury. Use cold part-way through your day after you have been active so you can decrease pain and inflammation from the flare up.

The application of a T•Shellz Wrap® is a good long-term plan as you will find it to be a highly beneficial tool for soft tissue health - both in the recovery process as well as for long term re-injury prevention. Many of our clients use it on a preventive basis to relax constricted soft tissue - especially prior to exertion. The T•Shellz Wrap® enhances the local blood circulatory system, increasing the flow of oxygen, nutrients and energy your body needs during its self healing process.

Bursa in the Elbow
Shoulder Bursitis Treatment View TShellz Wrap

We believe the use of T•Shellz Wraps® for boosting blood flow to in the area of application is one of the most under-utilized home treatment options available on the market today. We have client after client that have tried many options out there and have been amazed at how effective and fast the TShellz Wrap treatment can relieve pain and increase blood flow in the treatment area.

With regular use of the TShellz Wrap:

  • Your pain will be reduced.
  • With increased blood flow, soft tissue in the area will most likely recover at an accelerated rate*.
  • Due to increased warmth in soft tissue, the corresponding joint will have a larger range of motion and increased extensibility of collagen tissue*. This should translate into a reduced rate of injury occurrance as soft tissue becomes more flexible.
    (*Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. ( link - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin)

Attach the T•Shellz Wrap®, plug it in and let the Energy Pad do the work!

*Know that every personal soft tissue injury is unique and the TShellz Wrap may not work for everyone. This is why we offer a 60-day money back return on all our TShellz Wrap devices.

Our high quality wraps are registered with the FDA as medical devices.

Elbow Bursitis Treatment View TShellz Wrap

How to Use Ice and Heat to Relieve & Treat Your Bursitis

When it comes to using ice and heat for treating bursitis injuries, it's important to keep in mind that both ice AND heat are very effective ways to relieve pain and heal. Most people will think one is better over the other from their own experience or what a doctor / PT has previously told them.

Is heat better for treating a bursitis injury?

The only difference between using ice and heat is that 1 is better for you at a specific time in your healing cycle. Ice is used first, right when you get your injury, to decrease pain / swelling and inflammation. Once swelling has reduced, we then focus on heat based treatments to increase blood flow circulation in soft tissue which will stimulate the body's healing response.

Each temperature treatment has its own unique benefits for bursitis treatment, and when used together they provide a powerful advantage to your long-term recovery process. You may already know if ice or heat feels better on your injured bursa, and this could influence your decision too.

Is ice better for treating bursitis pain?

The bottom line is that ice and heat are exceptional, natural, pain relievers and healers for your bursitis.

There are cases where some bursa injuries will respond better to 1 temperature over the other. We want to help clear up the confusion so you know which is better (icy cold or gentle heat) and how to get the most from your treatment at home.

Part 1: Cold
Ice / Cold as Pain Relief for Your Bursitis Injury

Cold should be used for new injuries or right after re-injury.

COLD (ice) is used to treat injuries or conditions that are red, hot, inflamed, swollen and suffering from tissue damage (a tear or recovering from surgery). Cold is a natural / organic pain reliever that numbs pain right at the source of your injury. while doing this, the cold also stops tissue break-down and reduces the amount of scar tissue forming (this is very important after surgery).

When cold is applied to a bursitis injury, all of the soft tissue in the treatment area will squeeze on the veins to slow down blood flow. This in turn clamps down on the amount of fluid leaking into your injured tissue, decreasing your swelling. This is why cold is used immediately to treat newer soft tissue injuries or re-injuries. The cold slows down your body to stop the amount of damage happening to your tissue and decrease your swelling. This cold also has a nice side benefit of numbing the nerves in and around your bursa thereby decreasing pain.

In the medical world this is something called 'Vasoconstriction'.

Cold can Make Your Bursa Injury Worse - How?

Applying cold can restrict blood flow and stiffen / tighten soft tissue. Cold is NOT a good treatment method for your bursitis when the tissue is already tight and constricted, because the cold will just stiffen the tissue further and increase friction on the bursa. This is especially true if you're suffering from any cramping or spasming in the affected joint. Cold applied in areas of muscle cramps or spasms will only make the muscle cramp or spasm even more, again putting more pressure on your injured bursa and increasing the pain.

If you feel you have constricted or tight muscles/tendons and your bursitis swelling is down, consider using a heat based treatment that will help the body increase localized blood flow - a product like the T•Shellz Wrap® (Circulatory Boost).

When To Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack to Treat Your Bursitis Pain

Cold works best to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation for new injuries, re-injury and during immediate post surgery recovery. Cold should also be used during the first 24 - 72 hours of treatment, combined with resting your injury.

If you've been suffering for some time with a chronic bursitis injury you should only use cold after activity causes you more pain or triggers more inflammatory response symptoms (red, hot, inflamed, swollen). This would be when your the area around your bursa starts to hurt at the end of the day after you've been active or performing tasks that have put friction or stress on your injured bursa. When used at this time cold compression becomes a natural / organic pain reliever, treating the site where you feel the pain.

Sometimes we feel pain while doing a certain activity - should you still use cold? Too much cold can reduce your ability to heal correctly, because cold is a short term pain reliever, not a deep tissue healer.

Cold slows nerve and tissue function - reducing swelling that blocks blood vessels from doing their job.

This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through the tissue and tissue begin to break-down. Without cold compression tissue damage and break-down continue as they cannot get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your bursa, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal soft tissue injuries faster and with less pain!

Part 2: Heat
Heat for Bursitis Recovery

HEAT (warmth) is used after you've reduced your swelling / inflammation and the sharp pain is less intense (you have more of a dull / nagging ache and stiffness / tightness). Warming up your tissue is a natural way to open up blood vessels and encourage more blood flow (and due to this, increase the body's healing response) to soft tissue. It's the blood in your body that will bring oxygen, nutrients and water (basically energy) to your injured bursa to help with healing.

Doctors usually call this process 'Vasodilation'.

Cold should be used for new injuries or right after re-injury.

Heat can Make Inflammation, Swelling and Newer Injuries Worse - How?

When we injure ourselves, we start healing right away. The body will naturally raise the temperature at the site of the injury resulting in the inflammatory response (redness, heat sensation, inflammation and swelling). This 'fake fever' leaks blood flow to the area to cool it down and start the healing process.

Adding 'heat' to your injury when it's already inflamed and tender may make your body think there's a new threat to your tissue and increase the pain in order to get you to stop. For some people applying heat on inflamed / swollen tissue will cause the injury to swell-up even more (as much as 3 times larger than normal). You'll feel even more pain as the pressure builds on top of your injury.

Heat is NOT a good treatment method for inflamed bursitis injuries, new injuries (within the first 24 to 72 hours), right after surgery or right after a re-injury. In these cases, heat should be applied later on in the healing cycle. In the meantime, use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack to decrease swelling and inflammation induced pain.

Another Bursitis Heat vs Cold Treatment Scenario:

After spending 3 years as a hardwood floor installer, you are having difficulty.

Over the last couple months you have noticed that your knees are getting harder to bend. It is even starting to affect your ability to walk. After seeing your physician, she has informed you that you have contracted prepatellar bursitis, commonly known as "housemaid's knee". It is not infected (septic) and you need to take some time off to deal with your bursitis before it gets worse.

You have switched jobs until the problem goes away (stopped the cause of the problem) Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack as a natural pain-reliever and for inflammation reduction. The cold compression will also decrease the amount of damage being done to the knee.

Once pain and inflammation have reduced significantly, use the Knee TShellz Wrap to continue boosting blood flow in the area, while helping reduce risks of worsening the injury.

Keep using T•Shellz Wrap® treatments before activity and when you notice stiffness to 'warm up' your soft tissue.

Not Sure How to Use Ice and Heat to Treat Your Bursitis?

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We Have Answers that can Help...

The goal of this web page is to give people the information they need to use simple, effective, natural treatments like ice and heat to heal their injury.

If you want to discuss options with one of our trained AidMyBursa Advisers call our office toll-free at 1-866-237-9608 or Internationally at +1-705-532-1671.

There is no cost or obligation to this service.

We all want to begin healing as quickly as possible and with the right information, most of our clients have found it can happen more quickly than they believed.

All it takes is one call - 1-866-237-9608

How to Use Consistent Deep Tissue Stretching for Improved Tissue Flexibility & Health

For many people, the treatment won't just end there. Stretching is also an important part of of deep healing - and it's the final step needed when healing your injury with conservative treatment methods.

You would be surprised by how many people there are that don't understand the importance of stretching when recovering from a bursa injury. Before returning to full activity after bursitis, PTs prescribe gentle stretching of the affected area... This is because stretching is a major component of healing soft tissue. Consistent stretching is one of the only solutions available to break up scar tissue that forms on your tendon/muscles and bursa sack as it heals.

Stretch your tendon to boost healing.

Stretching soft tissue after a recent treatment with the TShellz Wrap is the best way to gain the stretching you need for recovery while minimizing the risk of re-injury. This is due to the effect the T•Shellz Wrap® has on soft tissue - elongation and flexibility (during and for a while after the treatment). This is exactly what you want while you are stretching to reduce risk of causing more tissue damage due to strain.

There is a Unique Formula used for Recovery from Bursitis...

We're going to let you in on a key piece of information... In every physio appointment your PT will use conservative treatments, massage, manual manipulation and/or stretching exercises to give you this Professional 3-Step Treatment Formula:

Step 1 - Warm Up Your Injury Site

For this 1st step many PTs will use heat, manual manipulation, deep tissue massage, clinical ultrasound devices or a warm bath to warm up your injury site. The goal during this first step is to increase healthy blood flow circulation and relax your affected tissue.

PTs will warm up your tissue by performing deep tissue massage.

'Warming up' your injury will increase the elastic-nature of your tissue fibers making it much easier to stretch and when needed, hold the stretch. This will also extend the amount that you will be able to stretch your injury site.

Warm it Up At Home

Use a T•Shellz Wrap® for 15 to 20 minutes at least half an hour before stretching your injury. This application will indirectly increase blood flow in the treatment area while simultaneously warming up and relaxing your injured tissue. Circulatory Boost will make your bursa fibers more elastic and pliable and reduce stress and friction on the bursa. This will allow for pain reduction and ease of movement when you're stretching and/or exercising.

Continued treatment with Circulatory Boost will also deliver much-needed oxygen, nutrients and water (basically energy) to your bursa. This will boost your body's own natural healing ability and speed up your time for recovery.

Step 2 - Stretch Your Injury

The main goal of PT is to exercise (stretch out) the affected area to improve flexibility and range of motion. After the PT has warmed up your injury site, they'll get you to do a series of exercises that are focused on stretching out your tissue.

After your tissue is warmed up your PT will guide you through stretches to improve mobility.

These exercises will be focused on "unfreezing" the joint and force soft tissue to both strengthen and become more elastic.

Sometimes cardiovascular exercise, like using a stationary bike or treadmill, will be recommended under the supervision of your PT.

Step 2 Continued...

Why are bursitis injuries so hard to over come? In two words - scar tissue.

Tendon and muscle tissue is meant to be soft and flexible, ready to work, and move extreme forces in everyday activities. Damaged soft tissue surrounding the bursa or even the bursa sac itself can heal with scar tissue - little tiny band-aids that overlap each other to bind damaged soft tissue together. With the added scar tissue the bursa sac becomes rigid, unable to perform it's job of lubricating the joint. If you're suffering with scar tissue now you may feel the effects with stiffness, tightness, weakness and tiredness in your bursitis injury site.

Scar tissue can form fast to bring together the edges of a tissue tear, but working fast doesn't mean that the job's done right. When scar tissue forms it doesn't come together as neatly as regular (healthy) tissue would. Scar tissue fibers will lay down over top of your tear in a cluttered, messy and jumbled up way. Most important of all - scar tissue is very inelastic, meaning that scar tissue will seize you up.

Imagine throwing a bunch of drinking straws in the air... When those straws hit the ground they'll land in a random, unorganized way. It even seems silly to think that those straws could land perfectly straight and all in the same direction. Stretching helps to organize the scar tissue, increasing the strength of this tissue so it's more like the weave of a basket.

Step 3 - Cool Down Your Bursitis Injury

Toward the end of your appointment your PT may introduce cold packs, acupuncture, or TENS to relax your tissue after the intense stretching and exercise.

Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack after stretches and exercise - or really whenever you feel deep tissue bursitis pain. This will help prevent full-blown inflammation from returning after your stretching.

bursitis and tendinitis commonly occur together

Our Bursitis Formula Works

Our T•Shellz Wrap® home treatment products will assist you in recovering from your injury by reducing your swelling and inflammation induced pain, maximizing blood flow where it's needed most and increasing the flexibility / range of motion of your joint.

Here at AidMyBursa we pride ourselves in helping you with your healing and recovery process. Everyone at AidMyBursa has tested and used the products. Dedication to our customers and our products goes hand-in-hand with our guarantees to you as a customer:

  • Guarantee #1 - Use your products diligently for up to 60 days and you will experience a significant reduction in pain. If not, I encourage you to send back the items for a 100% refund.
  • guaranteed customer satisfaction
  • Guarantee #2 - You will not be left in the dark after purchasing any products from us. AidMyBursa Advisers and Product Specialists are available 7 days a week by toll free phone 1-866-237-9608 or email to answer your questions or concerns.
  • Guarantee #3 - Your order is guaranteed to be shipped within 24 hours on every business day.
  • Guarantee #4 - All purchases receive a one year, full replacement warranty with guaranteed, prompt service.
  • Guarantee #5 - You could save hundreds of dollars and possibly more, by utilizing our products, and getting back to work sooner.

Prevention and Promotion of Lifelong Health

If you want to avoid re-injury, manage pain and increase circulation for lifelong health benefits, we have home treatment tools that can provide exceptional results. Why spend time in pain, off from work, and missing out on your active lifestyle when you can be proactive about your injury and the health of your body? Talk to your doctor about incorporating home conservative treatments such as the T•Shellz Wrap® into your everyday health regimen.

bursitis strain healing therapies

Call one of our AidMyBursa Advisers at no cost or obligation to address any lingering questions you have about using home treatments for your bursitis injury - toll free 1-866-237-9608

Product Advisors are available 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time Monday to Friday.

Learn More About Bursitis Injuries & Treatments

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I want to learn more about Ice & Heat: Which Is Better For Treatment?

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During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. Always consult your doctor and/or Physical Therapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they are right for you and your condition. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!

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