We are often asked what is better for pain. The simple answer: ICE.
Think about if you sprained your ankle and it swelled. Would you heat it? Typically No. We more easily recognize that putting heat on a swollen, hot, injured area would not be the best. The idea is similar for pain. There is often inflammation involved in pain and therefore icing produces a better effect. It not only reduces swelling but works as an analgesic (so feels better!). The preferred amount varies, but 15-20 minutes at time with about 1 hour off in between icings is the sweet spot. This can be repeated often typically about 3 times a day is a good start, until the inflammation and pain is starting to subside.