What does Cold Therapy (Ice) do?
Cold therapy, or ice, can significantly help with the healing process of an acute injury or it can be an important part in the prolonged treatment or management of a chronic condition. There are many uses for ice and many reasons to use it. Ice helps reduce bleeding into soft tissues, which leads to the prevention or reduction of swelling. Ice can also help relieve pain and muscle spasms. When a chronic condition is present, ice may help to manage pain and reduce inflammation in the affected area.
When and how should cold therapy be used?
Cold therapy should be used immediately after an acute injury such as a sprained ankle in order to minimize swelling and bleeding into the surrounding tissues. If the injury is chronic ice is recommended to be used as necessary to reduce pain. The recommended length of time to have ice on an injury is 20 minutes. Studies have shown that after the skin is numb there is minimal healing benefit. If you have any questions regarding cold therapy and if it may help with your particular injury or condition please ask your doctor.
For more information about the use of cold therapy please read this article.