Ice pack therapy
Ice pack therapy is a treatment of cold temperatures to an injured area of the body. An ice pack is placed over an injured area and is intended to absorb heat of a closed traumatic or swollen injury by using conduction to transfer the cold. The physiologic effects of cold application include immediate vasoconstriction and reflexive vasodilation, decreased local metabolism and enzymatic activity, and decreased oxygen demand. Cold decreases muscle spindle fiber activity and slows nerve conduction velocity, therefore it is often used to decrease spasticity and muscle guarding. It is commonly used to alleviate the pain of minor injuries.
In other words, the patient benefits through the reduction of swelling and inflammation. There is a numbing affect to the area to reduce pain and decreased muscle spasm. Finally, an ease of expense exists because it can be self-applied. We recommend that when a new injury occurs, that our patient use ice for 20 minutes at a time with an hour between applications. Also, the use of a towel to reduce the ice exposure to the tissues is suggested to prevent “frost-bite”.