When to Use Cold Therapy for Your Pain

Ice therapy can reduce inflammation, decrease tissue damage and slow nerve impulses that reduce pain.  Ice treatment is most effective shortly after an injury occurs, and comes in a variety of forms including: homemade packs (frozen vegetables), reusable gel packs, instant chemical packs, or ice baths.

Back Pain

Patients suffering from muscle strains, tissue inflammation or damage, and muscle spasms can benefit from ice treatments.

Neck Pain

It is better to apply ice or cold packs for neck pain because they can temporarily close small blood vessels and prevent swelling from becoming worse.

Osteoarthritis

Acute gout flares (foot pain) can benefit from ice treatment.

Headaches

Cold masks or forehead, eye or temple wraps can help throbbing migraine pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Cold treatments will not prevent rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups, but after exercise they can lessen inflammation and pain.

Fibromyalgia

Cold treatments can sometimes help reduce inflammation, proving numbing sensations and reduce pain symptoms.

Side Effects

It is normal for your skin to look a little pinker after using ice treatments.  Before adding new ice, let your skin return to its normal color and temperature.  If you see purplish-red, dark red, or spotty red and white color (hives), swelling, or blisters call your doctor. These are signs the temperature was too extreme and may indicate skin damage.  This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about heat therapy.

To learn more about ice therapy, please visit WebMD or Spine Health