Hot and Cold Gel Packs – When and how to use safely?

Hot & Cold Gel Packs for muscle and pain relief

Heat and cold gel packs are commonly recommended to provide relief to joints and muscle pains. Using them, temperature related therapy are non-invasive and there is no risk of addiction to pain-killers. You may choose to use hot or cold therapy depending on the types of aches and pains.

Cold / hot treatment are used extensively by sportsmen, physical manual labourers, elderlys and commonly kept in households.

Any new and recent injury will cause inflammation and possibly swelling. Using cold compression therapy gel packs, you will reduce the blood flow to the injured area, reducing the inflammation and swelling.

For heat therapy gel pack, it works will on pains and aches that recurs, bringing blood flow to the affected area and promotes healing.

Cold Compression therapy – Cold Packs

What does cold compression therapy do?

Cold compression therapy can numb the area, reducing the pain level. It also slows down blood flow rate to an injured area, reducing the swelling and pain.

Cold treatments will slow blood circulation, decreasing inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain.

How do I prepare and apply ice pack?

For cold compression therapy, you can use ice (wrapped in towel) or you can prepare cold gel pack in a freezer or fridge to get cold in advance.

When should you use cold compression therapy?

Cold compression therapy can be used when you have a swollen or bruised area. You can apply cold pack on it immediately after the injury, using this treatment till up to 48 hours to reduce the pain. Cold therapy works well for sports injuries, bumps, bruises, sprains and strains. Press the ice or cold packs on an affected area, for no more than 20 minutes at a time, removing it for 10 minutes and press again after the gap.

How can I use ice therapy safely?

  • Use the cold packs for no more than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Do avoid direct contact with the skin and wrap in a thin towel before pressing onto the affected area.
Hot or Cold Pack on Body

Heat therapy

What does heat therapy do?

Warmth expands blood vessels and increases blood flow, oxygen and nutrients to affected area. This increased flow alleviate joints pain and relax sore muscles. The hot therapy will soothes, improve the flexibility and increases the range of motions of ligaments and tendons. Heat therapy will decrease muscle pain and spasms.

How do i prepare and apply heat pack?

You can use either “dry heat” or “moist heat”.  Dry heat will have the adverse effect of drying up the skin.


Moist heat will provides a better and more uniform penetration.

You can use hot water bottles, heated towels, electric or microwavable heating pad or hot gel packs.

When should you use hot therapy?

Heat therapy should be applied on joint, muscle pains that keep recurring or are old injuries.  It work well if you have stiff or painful joints as well as sore and chronic muscle

How can I use hot pack safely?

Do not apply the hot device directly to your skin. Use a thin towel to wrap the heat source, which should not be too hot.

The gel pack or device should be warm and maintained at a consistent temperature, if possible. Ask your doctor or physical therapist which heat source would be best for you.

Here are other safety tips:

  • Do NOT use hot therapy if there’s swelling. Use cold therapy first, then hot therapy to recover.

  • Do NOT apply heat for longer than 20 minutes, unless your doctor or physical therapist recommends otherwise.

  • Do NOT use heat on an open wound or injuries with stitches.
  • Do NOT use hot therapy if you have poor circulation or diabetes.

  • Do NOT sleep while lying down with a heat pad on your skin, the long exposure time may burn your skin.

Please check with your physical therapist or doctor if you are not sure whether to proceed with cold or hot therapy

Summary of Cold and Hot Therapy

Benefits of Cold Therapy Ice Pack

  • Reduce pain
  • Relieves swelling
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Short-term relief for minor injuries, bruises, sprains, strains, and post surgery.

Benefits of Heat Therapy Hot Pack

  • Promotes healing
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Relieves joint and muscle pain and soreness
  • Short-term relief for minor injuries, muscle spasms, joint stiffness, and body aches.

    #1 Brand in Singapore Hospitals*

  • Convenient, effective pain relief— available for use anytime, anywhere
  • Multi-purposes uses as hot or cold therapy in clinics, hospitals and camps.

Get hot or cold packs from hospitals pharmacies or online

For these popular heat and cold pack, you can find them in all major Singapore private and public hospital pharmacies and shops. Or you can also opt to buy hot and cold pack online in Singapore.  

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