We all suffer with injuries from time to time and there are various ways to treat both minor and acute damage. Many people will use pain relief medication to ease the discomfort but cold therapy is also extremely effective.
Cold therapy can be used to treat various injuries including sprains, muscle strains and pulled ligaments. When I’d get injured as a child, my mother would place a bag of frozen peas on the area which seemed to help. Frozen bags of vegetables are a crude form of cold therapy and thankfully there are now much better alternatives.
Before you decide to use an ice pack to treat an injury it’s always advisable to consult your doctor. Some people may not benefit from using an ice pack and your doctor will be able to offer their professional medical opinion.
Who Needs to Use Ice Packs for Injuries?
People of all ages can benefit from using an ice pack when they suffer from an injury. Children and adults use cold therapy to treat various problems and the elderly may even use ice packs to treat arthritis. Many professional athletes will also use ice packs to help to alleviate pain following an injury.
Even if you’ve visited a doctor and have been treated for an injury there are still some advantages to using an ice pack. Using ice packs in conjunction with elevation, rest and medication can help manage pain.
How do Ice Packs Help an Injury?
An ice pack is a simple way to administer cold therapy to an area of the body that’s injured and painful. The cold that’s emitted by the ice pack will have some effects on the body which can help to reduce pain.
When the ice pack has been chilled to the correct temperature it’s applied to the injured area. Ice packs can help to decrease blood circulation which numbs the area to reduce the level of pain. The coldness of the ice pack may also reduce some nerve activity which can also help to reduce the pain and discomfort.
Decreasing blood circulation with an ice pack is an effective way to reduce swelling that often occurs after an injury. Temporarily reducing the flow of blood can also help to reduce any tenderness felt in the soft tissue. Ice packs are often used to treat bruising on some areas of the body.
When an ice pack is used to treat an injury it can also help to reduce any inflammation in the area. An ice pack may also help to prevent cramping and muscle spasms due to the cooling of the skin, soft tissue and blood. If the area surrounding the injury is relaxed it’s more likely to heal and ice packs will help with this.
How do I Choose the Correct Ice Pack?
Most ice packs that are used do not actually contain any ice. Modern ice packs use numerous types of gel or clay which stays flexible when it’s been frozen. It’s important to use an ice pack that’s pliable so it molds to your body to provide effective cold therapy.
Ice packs are available in various sizes and the pouches are made from plastic or vinyl, with some accompanied by a fabric covering. If you use a plastic or vinyl pack you should use a barrier cloth to protect your skin against cryoburn. Ice packs that have a soft fabric covering can be applied directly to the skin.
You’ll need to use an ice pack that’s a suitable size for the area being treated. If you have a shoulder or back injury it may be better to use a large ice pack that can be secured with a strap. Smaller ice packs are available and are more convenient for neck, hand and foot injuries.
You should choose an ice pack that’s well made from good-quality materials. You don’t want a pack that’s going to split and leak because it’s been poorly made. When you buy your ice pack you should check all of the seams carefully before you use it.
Here are a few things to look at when you’re choosing an ice pack for injuries:
Purchase an ice pack that freezes quickly and stays cold for a reasonable amount of time. If your ice pack doesn’t stay cold it won’t be effective.
Use an ice pack that’s still going to be flexible when it’s removed from the freezer. Having a pliable ice pack will allow you to wrap it around the area that needs to be treated.
It may be worth buying ice packs in various sizes to treat different types of injury. An ice pack that’s suitable for hands and feet will not be large enough to treat back or shoulder injuries.
Make sure that you buy an ice pack that’s going to fit in your freezer. Some of the packs are quite large and you won’t want to take food out of your freezer to accommodate the ice pack.
If you plan to use an ice pack with a strap you should make sure that the strap is long enough for your needs. It’s also important that the strap can be fastened easily and securely so that the ice pack stays in place.
If you decide to use a gel-filled ice pack you should ensure that the gel is non-toxic. Any ice pack can split or tear which will cause the gel to leak. If the gel leaks and is harmful you may have a bad skin reaction.
Ice Packs for Kids
If you’re buying an ice pack for young children it’s a good idea to buy one with bright colors and pictures. Children are more likely to use the ice pack if it’s fun and appealing to the eye.
If you sometimes use heat therapy you can look for an ice pack that’s dual function. Some ice packs can be heated in the microwave or placed in a bowl of hot water if you’re looking to apply heat to your injury.
What Are the Best Ice Packs for Injuries?
We looked at a large number of ice packs and selected five that provide some relief when used to treat an injury. All of the products were similar in design and they all stay cold for around 30 minutes.
The main features we were looking at were price, quality and how long the ice packs stay cold. We’ve reviewed five products and listed some pros and cons for each one.
All of the ice packs that we reviewed are suitable for treating many different types of injury with cold therapy. None of these ice packs were overly expensive and they all stayed cold for a similar length of time.
After carefully looking at all of the products the best ice pack for injuries is the NatraCure Universal Cold Pack Ice Wrap.
These ice packs offer very good value for money and they stay cold enough for an adequate cold therapy treatment session. The range of sizes is good, the pack is comfortable and the strap is a useful feature. One of the other reasons that we selected this product as that it can also be successfully used for heat therapy.
Leave a comment