Cold therapy gel packs have the tendency to activate the body’s natural healing power that can relieve the symptoms of many medical conditions and promote a sense of health and well-being. The therapy carried out using gel packs is also known as Cryotherapy. Though to treat your pain with a modern although the basic version of cryotherapy, a therapy gel pack can be pressed on the affected or swollen area. And when practiced on a regular basis, cold therapy can provide long-lasting changes to the affected area that is lymphatic or swollen and help in enhancing the overall quality of life.
Cold therapy is used in several ways, including gel packs, ice packs, coolant sprays, or instant cold packs or cold water immersions. To treat injuries at home the use of gel packs usually kept in the freezer remains one of the most effective, simple, and time-tested home remedies to manage pain and swelling.
How Does Cold Therapy Work?
When you sustain an injury, it will often result in inflammation, swelling, and pain at the site. In this acute situation, it is helpful to apply a cold pack to the affected area which works by reducing the blood flow and significantly reducing any inflammation and swelling that may occur. This can be helpful to take pain and discomfort out of the equation as much as possible. Apply a cold pack to the affected area as soon as possible and this should continue until the swelling has subsided, which can take at least 72 hours and then can be followed by heat therapy. It is then treated with heat, the reason being, it will help with the blood flow freely again once the inflammation and swelling have been reduced.
Though the concept of cold therapy may sound like a strange concept to slow the blood flow down then the use of heat therapy only to speed it up again soon after. But all of this really helps to clean the affected area and ensure that the blood flows with all the fresh blood with its nutrients. To simply put, it is one of the simplest, safest, and most effective self-care techniques for injury, pain, or discomfort in muscles and joints.
Why is Cold Therapy Best for Injuries?
From homemade ice packs to cold therapy gel packs, there are endless possibilities to treat an injury or for pain management. With all the ice bags and reusable cold therapy substitutes out there, therapy gel packs are the easiest to use even for athletes, which is why it is so effective. All you have to do is put the therapy gel pack in the freezer and apply it on the affected area with the desired temperature you want. You can confirm it to the injured area with a cover and secure it down with a compression strap.
For instance, an athlete wakes up and heads to the playing field, for his warm-up followed by a grueling workout. He has to lift weights, run and do kicking drills which can make him exhausted. In this case, when the practice is exhausting, people usually head back with sore muscles and soothe their sore body with a hot shower. However, applying cold or using instant cold packs can be a great process. The process of cryotherapy can be applied specifically to ease your achy joints. For athletes, after they start applying cold in multiple sessions after workout spread out over several days they see other benefits too. As the treatment becomes routine, they don’t feel the tiredness and soreness and their sleep starts becoming better. Just remember to always put a barrier in between to protect against frostbite.
Moreover, to treat any kind of injury you can use a cold therapy gel pack initially at the site of discomfort, pain, or injury. When the injury starts to heal you can also apply ice in the later stages for the rehabilitation of injuries or chronic (long-term) problems.
Initial Injury and Cold Therapy
When a person hits himself, that being the initial stage of injury, the tissue damage can cause uncontrolled swelling. If not treated immediately, the swelling can increase the damage of the injury which might turn chronic or can cause several delays in the healing time. The use of cold therapy immediately will reduce the amount of swelling and cold helps in decreasing: blood flow to the area, tissue damage, blood clot formation, inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain. At the same time, applying cold to the area will also enhance the flow of nutrients into the area, aids in the removal of metabodies while increasing strength and promoting healing.
How to Prevent Injury While Using Cold Therapy?
Though putting ice directly on the skin can ease pain and give relief, it can also damage your skin barrier. So to prevent any kind of injuries it is best to wrap the cold object in a thin towel or when you buy online it does come with a cover to protect your skin from the direct cold, especially if you are using therapy gel packs directly from the freezer.
Tip: Apply gel pack for about 10 to 20 minutes several times a day. Follow the “RICE” therapy which refers to Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate. Check your skin often for sensation while using the therapy packs.
Doing all this can help prevent your injury from progressing and promote healing. This will make sure you are not damaging any tissues.
Here is the RICE approach that needs to be combined with cold therapy:
Take a break from all the activities that can make your pain worse or ache even after rest following the activity. Ideally, it is best to lie down in a comfortable position without moving the affected area.
Ice the injured area with a gel pack for about 20-30 minutes at the interval of 2 hours which will help to control swelling and pain around the area. This will also help to stabilize the area so that you do not further injure yourself.
The injured area can be pressured slightly with a band or elasticated wrap which can help minimize swelling. If after compression you feel numbness or color change to the extremities most likely the area is restricting blood flow. Therefore, loosen or remove it.
Put your feet up, or elevate whatever body part is in pain as long as possible to minimize bleeding and swelling.