Ice Or Heat: What Do I Use For Headaches?

Every now and then, everyone gets headaches, and each time it happens, you ask yourself:

“What can I use for headaches like this? Should I use ice or heat treatment?”

Today, we’ll tackle the various types of headaches you can use ice or heat treatment with.

First, we need to clarify what a headache is and to outline the different types of headache.

What is a Headache?

A headache is characterized by a pain felt in the head or in the face.

Headaches can also manifest as sharp pain or a throb with pain.

The severity of pain, the affected area, its cause and how often it happens differs according to what type of headache you have.

Types of Headache

Here are some of the main forms of headache you might experience:

  • Cluster headaches
  • Migraines
  • Tension headaches
  • Sinus or allergy headaches
  • Oral/dental-derived headaches

Cluster headache

This headache is most common in men.

Cluster headache can occur once daily or several times during the day in a series.

This type of headache comes on instantly and is characterized by an unbearable pain on just one side of the head – it can happen on either side. You might also encounter a runny nose and nasal congestion.


Migraines are most common in women.

This severe headache breaks out on just one side of the head and can last from 4 hours to 72 hours. Oftentimes, migraines are accompanied by nausea or light-sensitivity.

Tension headache

The most common form of headache, tension headaches trigger a persistent pain or heaviness in the back of the head or around the head or neck area.

Sinus or allergy headache

If you feel a pain in the sinus area due to infection and swollen sinuses, perhaps with an accompanying fever, you could have an allergy headache, also known as a sinus headache.

Oral/dental-derived headaches

This form of headache is caused by muscle strain in the jaw and mouth areas. It’s almost always associated with toothaches.

For more detail, see our full guide to the different types of headache right here.

Now you have an overview of the various types of headaches you could suffer from, how can you go about treating them?

Is ice therapy or heat therapy the most effective for dealing with headaches?

Ice or Heat for Headaches

To relieve headaches, you can use ice or heat treatment for the following types of headache with the steps below

Ice treatment has a numbing effect which could relieve pain and might stop swelling. Use ice packs, a cold compress or a cold shower to achieve this.

Apply an ice pack to your forehead, temples, or other affected area. Leave the ice in place for no more than 15 minutes. Repeat after a short break as required.

If you’re using cooling pads, apply these to the affected area. This is a smart move if you have a migraine, a tension headache, or a headache derived from dental issues.

Heat treatment can help you relax your muscles and generally soothe the pain triggered by a headache. Try using heat packs, heating pads, or taking a hot shower.

Apply a compress or a heat pack to the affected area for no more than 15 minutes. Repeat as with ice therapy as required.

Final Thoughts

Now you know when to use and ice heat for headaches next time you’re suffering.

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

If you need to arrange an appointment, you can schedule a visit online. You can also call us directly on 480-550-9393.