When it comes to swelling in the joints due to injuries, ice in the form of ice pack acts like a balm in this age old procedure of pain suppression. Many instances of this home therapy can be cited from a bruised knee or ankle to light burns and gum pain etc. Water as a cleansing agent is well known but ice as a safe therapeutic agent commands great popularity in all parts of the world as a first-aid measure. It is therefore interesting to understand the very mechanism as to how this cold therapy really works in the suppression of pain and treatment of swelling etc. Cryotherapy is the term used for treatment with ice to absorb the heat generated through metabolism, when any injury occurs. It is important to comprehend this physical therapy in order to effectively treat and sooth the bruised part of our body.
The metabolic process that follows an injury and its treatment with ice is unique. Mostly this relates to damage of the blood vessels and their effectiveness in supplying oxygen with nutrients to tissue cells. As a result, injury enhances the metabolism with increased requirements of oxygen that is no longer available due to damaged blood vessels. Consequently, cells die and waste products occupy the muscular tissues causing bruising or swelling symptoms. Feeling of pain is a normal outcome of this process. Applying ice or specially manufactured ice pack to the injury slows down the rate of metabolism and the natural healing of the body enables the bruise or swelling to rapidly subside. Ice is the best cold therapy media owing to its quick heat transfer capacity, and it also numbs the nerve endings that transfer the feeling of pain to the brain. Remember when you had a minor burn, or twisted your ankle causing a swelling, or bumped your forehead against a low object or wall. Did not your mother immediately apply crushed ice or ice cubes to the injury to suppress the bulge on the head?
Cold ice packs decrease metabolism to slow down or obviate the swelling and bruising phenomenon by the principle of heat transfer. Conversely, heat treatment increases this metabolism and aggravates the discomfort and pain. Therefore ice is for soothing bruises and injuries, whilst heat therapy is for relaxing muscular tension. They are two opposite mechanisms though sometimes the symptoms may appear quite similar. Ice pack therapy gives the most efficient and economic treatment in several ailments like ankle swelling, tendonitis, athletic injury etc, though a variety of cooling packs are available in the market that utilize gels and other chemicals. Ice based packs enable a high rate of cooling and phase transfer, whereby the treatment and relief is more durable than the chemical packs. A well designed medically certified ice pack manufactured by reputed companies can be an asset to relieve you of injury discomfort, swelling, and bruises.
Ice treatment must start immediately after an injury or symptoms of swelling or redness as this would increase the chances of quick recovery and less pain. Medical authorities always recommend ice therapy to be applied for at least two to three days at short intervals to be most effective and combined with medication as prescribed by your practioner. Ice is therefore good for your health, apart from cooling you down in times of stress and tension!
Our Customers Say ...
"I know I’ve found a new key to my post-ride recovery. After each ride, I take a recovery drink with me into the shower, clean off and then put the ice wraps on while I cook and eat."-- Phil Gaimon, 24, rides for Kenda Pro Cycling