Using ice on an injured area will decrease swelling and allow you to recover much faster. There are several keys to using ice effectively, so please review these tips and instructions to get the most out of your time spent icing.
Proper application for ice treatments:
- Use ice cubes, or cold packs. In a pinch, you may use frozen vegetables (leave them in the bag!)
- Place the ice either
- Directly on the area.
- Over a damp, single layer of a thin towel. This may be different than what you have done in the past, but done correctly, there is virtually no risk for frostbite, and the time you spend icing will be much more beneficial to you.
- The feelings you will experience while icing will vary from cold, to burning, to aching, to numbness. Everyone experiences something a little different, but icing does not carry a general reputation as “a comfortable thing to do.” You will find that after 2-3 treatments, your tolerance will be much better to the discomfort of icing.
- Leave the ice bag over the area for 10-20 minutes, or until the area becomes numb (as tested by a finger nail scratch, for instance), whichever comes first. NEVER, under any circumstances, leave the ice on for longer than 20 minutes! Twenty minutes is good, but forty is not twice as good. Leaving the ice on for longer periods of time puts you at risk for frostbite and other forms of tissue damage, and at the very least, will cause more pain in the area than you had before icing.
- After your treatment, remove the ice bag. The area may feel strange at first, but once the skin and underlying tissues warm back up, normal feeling will return. You may re-apply ice after an interval of one (1) hour between treatments. This time will allow the body part to regain normal temperature, so it will be safe to once again cool it down.