The Most Effective Way to Use Ice as a Pain Reliever

A common question many people have when they have an injury is why the ice pack is put on and off the injury so often. It would seem that once your injured body part “got used to” the cold, to leave the pack or wrap on and let it does its job, right? Wrong!

Ice is a very, let me stress, very effective way to relieve swelling and pain in an injury; however it can also actually slow down the healing process and even damage tissue if the ice is applied for too long of a period at a time. Done correctly, ice is a marvelous part of a recovery therapy for an injury.

It works so simply. The cold constricts the blood vessels in the area that it’s applied. This in turn reduces the blood flow around the injured site. The cold also works to reduce swelling in the area of the injury too. Ice will numb the injured area and this will lower the pain factor substantially as well as prevent painful muscle spasms.

Using the cold wrap in short periods is important as the skin is sensitive to cold and really doesn’t “get used to” it. Obviously don’t apply ice directly to your skin and a wrap or cold pad is really the best choice. Applying ice directly can lead actually lead to frostbite of the area or even nerve and tissue damage. Another point to know about your body, when your skin is cooled to a temperature below 59-degrees, the body will open up the blood flow to the cold area and that’s what you don’t want to happen around your injured area.

A good icing schedule is 10-minutes on and 10-minutes off. You can repeat this cycle several times without risk of causing further damage and it will help keep pain under control along with swelling. Obviously have an injury looked at by a trusted medical professional who can ascertain the exact nature and extent of your injury, however until you can get in to be seen – this is a good way to keep your pain, swelling and spasms to a bare minimum.