People often face the hot/cold conundrum: Which one should you use? Generally, the recommendation is to use ice for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury to reduce swelling, followed by heat to loosen muscles and improve stiffness. But with cervical disc disease, neither heat nor cold is going to penetrate deeply enough to actually relieve the inflammation, so use whichever feels best. Regardless of whether you choose cold or heat, keep it on for only about 20 minutes at a time and then leave it off for at least 40 minutes. Wrap the ice or heat source in a towel never put it directly against your skin or you could wind up with a nasty burn.