Ice Therapies

Written by Sierra Rein
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Ice therapies are utilized for a variety of different physical ailments. These therapies are non-invasive and non-addictive procedures to treat aches, pains and injuries common with athletes, dancers and the average lawn mowing resident. Indeed, the effects of cold compresses last longer, and have a lot more healing properties, than heated compresses.

Cryotherapy, or the use of cold compresses and ice packs to help the healing process, produces an effect called vasoconstriction. This means the slowing down of circulation in the pained area to reduce inflammation and swelling. Vasoconstriction also decreases the chance of muscle spasms and numbs the local nerves as a way of truncating pain.

Ice therapies should not be used for longer than 15 or 20 minutes at a time. They are best used within the first 72 hours after an injury, and only once every few hours. Within the first 24 hours of therapy, there should be no consumption of alcohol, no physical massage to the area, and no application of heated compression wraps, rubs or packs.

When Not to Apply Ice Therapies

It is dangerous to place cold packs on any area with a previous history of poor circulation, especially in extremities like the hands and feet. People who are susceptible to cold allergies should also refrain from taking part in ice therapies. If there is a question regarding whether or not ice therapy is right for you, talk to a professional injury specialist.

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