Have you ever been advised to apply an ice pack to a painful area or injury?

Applying ice packs is an efficient, effective and a time tested practice. Cryotherapy or cold therapy has a number of effects on our body, especially after injury or many times during rehab as well. Application of cold causes narrowing of blood vessels which leads to decrease in blood flow to the injured area, which subsequently leads to reduction in swelling. This happens due to the process of vasoconstriction and vasodilation. Vasoconstriction and vasodilation happens simultaneously due to ice therapy which eventually leads to improved blood circulation.

Many times people don't find ice application that effective. It is probable because they are not applying it in the right manner. This is mostly because they don’t know the right method of ice application.

So what’s the right method:

Step 1: Choose the right type of ice pack.

Cold packs are available of various types.

E.g: Commercial gel packs Homemade cold pack Ice chips in freezer bag Direct application of ice cube Frozen paper cup

The selection of type of cold pack is based on the location of pain:

e.g : For a larger area of pain choose a bigger ice bag.

• Always keep a layer of insulation e.g: Layer of cloth or towel to prevent frostbite.

• If the affected area is a distal joint e.g Knee or shoulder use 2 ice bags.

• In smaller areas use ice cubes directly in the form of ice cube massage.

• The duration of ice cube application is also very important. It should be 15-20 min.

3 important tips on ice pack application:

• Prefer ice bag in semi-solid state. (It easily adjust in the contour of the body and evenly penetrate in the body)

• Homemade ice bags and commercial ones are equally effective.

• While doing an ice massage do it in circular motion or figure of eight.

Ice packs can be of great help for many aspects of your health so make sure to use it when ever in need.

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