Should I use ice or heat on my back? In the first 72 hours (or longer if severe pain or swelling persist), ice should be applied. Ice reduces inflammation. After that, apply 10 minutes of heat, 10 minutes of cold, and 10 minutes of heat again. Heat draws blood into the area, and ice drives out swelling, thus creating circulatory stimulation.« View All FAQs"This information and website content is not intended to diagnose, guarantee results, or recommend specific treatment or activity. It is designed to educate and inform only. Please consult your physician for a thorough examination leading to a diagnosis and well-planned treatment strategy. See more details on the DISCLAIMER page. Content is reviewed by Dr. James M. Cox I."