The simplest approach when using either a cold or hot pack is to apply a cold pack to acute injuries (24-72 hours) and a hot pack for anything after that. However, some people find they respond better to either cold or hot in which case I suggest you use which ever you prefer.
When applying a cold pack use the following as a guideline:
-Apply for 20 minutes then remove and allow the involved area to return to normal temperature before repeating the process.
-Repeat 3-4 times per day ( or as directed by a professional)
-DO NOT APPLY THE ICE PACK DIRECTLY TO THE SKIN. Use a pillow case or towel and wrap it up before applying.