Ice is nice!!! You may not be sure why you should be using cold therapy with your injury. Also, what is the proper way to ice an affected area?
Purpose of cold therapy
Most times when you have an injury you have an increase in swelling and inflammation in a specific region. Ice helps to reduce swelling and inflammation which will help to facilitate healing.
Ice helps to constrict (closes down) blood vessels which allows the body to pump excess fluid out of an area. Heat, on the other hand, dilates (opens up) the blood vessels which brings more fluid in.
Directions for using ice
- Place ice pack in freezer for at least an hour.
- Some ice packs require a buffer (paper towel or light dish towel) between the pack and skin as not to cause a burn in the area. (The ones that we have in our office usually do not need the additional layer as they have a protective outer layer. If you have sensitive skin you may need that additional layer, however).
- Apply the cold therapy for 15-20 minutes per session. Do not go over 20 minutes as it may cause the opposite effect and increase swelling.
- Ice can be reapplied every hour (about 45 minutes-an hour in between sessions). This allows the body to get back to its regular temperature as we do not want continuous cold.
- Don’t forget to re-freeze your ice pack so it is ready to use again!
- I recommend trying to ice at least twice a day with an acute injury and at least once a day for chronic injuries. It is usually easiest to do it at home after a long day at work when you take some time to relax
In the age-long heat versus ice debate, I have always been a fan of ice. If you know me by now I always recommend ice and rarely heat for your injuries. One of the main reasons is that what do you see most professional athletes do after each game? Most of the time they have a bag of ice on an area or they are heading into an ice bath. I figure if they are worth millions of dollars and are using cold therapy then we probably should too!
For more information about ice as well as heat check out this great infographic.
While cold therapy is great, remember that it does not take the place of chiropractic adjustments! It is a great and effective tool you can use to help speed up the healing process.
If you or anyone you know are looking for a chiropractor in Frisco, Plano, The Colony, Prosper, McKinney, or any other surrounding areas look no further than Express Chiropractic of Frisco! Remember you never need an appointment, we have late hours most days and are even open on Saturdays. We hope to see you for an adjustment and massage soon!