I thought you said in another thread that local inflammation is a necessary step in the healing process.
Anyway, I found this article: http://www.jfponline.com/Pages.asp?AID=1971
which seems to support ice and/or anti-inflammatory use right after injury but doesn't show anything for long-term effects (and I don't know anyone who would use heat immediately after an injury)...
I found another study which is pro short-term intermittent ice applications and I have a bunch more to sort through. http://bjsm.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/40/8/700
Also, I think something feeling better can be indicative of quicker recovery, if it continues to feel better (as opposed to just feeling better for a few minutes) AND it can be useful for specific injury treatment, for example if you are using heat so that you can work on your rehabilitation routine without pain. Just some thoughts.