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.
Patients suffering from muscle strains, tissue inflammation or damage, and muscle spasms can benefit from ice treatments.
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.
Acute gout flares (foot pain) can benefit from ice treatment.
Cold masks or forehead, eye or temple wraps can help throbbing migraine pain.
Cold treatments will not prevent rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups, but after exercise they can lessen inflammation and pain.
Cold treatments can sometimes help reduce inflammation, proving numbing sensations and reduce pain symptoms.
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.