Application of an ice pack causes an endothermic reaction in the body, thereby alleviating swelling and pain. The following HealthHearty write-up provides information on cold pack therapy.
The cold pack is basically a plastic bag that contains water. Within the pack, lies another plastic bag or tube that contains ammonium nitrate fertilizer. When you hit the pack or place it against your body, the tube breaks and the water mixes with the fertilizer. An endothermic (heat absorbing) reaction follows, which causes the temperature of the solution to fall to about 35 F (1.6 Degree Celsius) for 10 – 15 minutes. Application of these packs can provide relief in case of pain, swelling, soreness, or burning sensation.
When to Use Cold Packs
This therapy can be used for aches due to sinus pressure. Migraines and dental pain can also be relieved with its help. This therapy is also beneficial for swelling, inflammation, sports injuries, etc. These might provide relief to people affected by stiff shoulder or dislocated shoulder. The method also comes in handy for treating shoulder pain and repetitive overhead activity.
This therapy might prove to be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of:
- Tennis elbow
- Elbow sprains
- Elbow tendon injuries
Apart from mild injuries of the elbow, this therapy is used for:
- Wrist tendinitis
- Ligament pain and swelling
For back injuries and aches such as:
- Acute back pain
- Back strain
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Degenerative arthritis and herniated discs
For treating various disorders of hip, knee, thigh, ankle, heel and foot such as:
- Arthritis, hip pain, muscle pulls, and hip pointers
- Joint soreness, pain arising due to knee replacement, ache from tears in the ligaments and knee arthritis
- Swelling from sprained ankle, discomfort arising after ankle surgery and Achilles tendinitis
- Disorders of heel and foot, causing swelling and inflammation, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and aching joints and tendons
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of a nerve in the carpal tunnel. This is characterized by the sensation of tingling, burning or numbness, discomfort, and weakness in the hands and fingers. If the disorder is at a mild stage, then application of ice packs might provide adequate relief. This will not only lessen the intensity of pain, but also help reduce the swelling on the median nerve. Application of such packs will provide temporary relief from pain and soreness around the wrist.
The cold packs must be administered to the affected area at intervals of 10 – 20 minutes. It is always recommended to wrap a towel around it. This is to avoid direct contact of the cold pack with skin, which might otherwise cause pain and damage due to extreme cold. It would be best to use the packs that are recommended by your doctor.
Though the application of ice packs does not cure any medical condition, it can reduce swelling and provide relief from pain. The extreme cold that is used in this therapy, numbs the aching part and reduces the intensity of pain. This way, the user feels less or no pain at all. It is definitely better than taking painkillers or other medicines, as it does not give rise to side effects when used as recommended.