The cold therapy is a method of treatment for injuries which involves cooling the injured tissues.
How does it work? The cold therapy can reduce swelling and decrease tissue damage, blood clot formation, inflammation, muscle spasms and pain. It also enhances the flow of nutrients, aids the removal of metabolites (waste products), increases strength and promotes healing.
What can you apply on the injured spot? Usually the application of an ice pack or a cold wheat bag after an injury can help you a lot. You can also use frozen peas, cold gels and sprays, ice water immersion and ice massage.
What are the 4 steps you need to follow when you have a fresh sport injury?
Ice - Apply ice for up to 10 minutes as soon after the injury as possible to reduce swelling. Repeat every 2 hours during the first 2 days. Keep the ice on no longer than 10 minutes as the body then reacts by increasing blood flow to warm the area and therefore exacerbating the swelling. Do not apply ice directly to the skin - use a wet flannel or even better use a cold wheat bag, just taken out of the freezer.
Compression - After ice, apply a compression bandage to help minimise the swelling to the tissues.
Elevation - Elevate the injured part to help limit blood flow and prevent use of muscles to injured part.
Rest - Avoid moving the injured part as much as possible to allow the healing of damaged tissues.
This cold application is repeated regularly throughout the first 48 to 72 hours of an injury. After this time, alternating between hot and cold, or using hot only is recommended.
When/where not to use ice therapy:
When you are sensitive to ice - you will feel pain.
In the chest region as in some instances this may cause a reaction in the muscles, bringing about angina pain, possibly from the constriction of coronary arteries.
Always check skin sensitivity before applying ice - if you cannot feel touch before applying ice it may indicate other problems such as nerve impingement.
When you have high blood pressure as vasoconstriction will increase the pressure within the vessels.
Why to use cold wheat bags to treat your sport injuries:
easy to use: just keep it in the freezer all the time to have it ready
comfortable: it moulds to your body
natural and safe: made of wheat and cotton fabric
cheap comparing to other devices
versatile: you can heat it and apply it warm after the first days of injury