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Let's talk more about cryotherapy and explore further some of its aspects. Does ice therapy actually reduce tissue damage, swelling and post-injury pain? How useful is cryotherapy for the treatment of acute injuries and how long should it be used for? Let us try to answer these questions with the support of an interesting article published on the clinicaledge.co website.
Does the application of ice help to reduce swelling?
It is often said that ice reduces swelling: therefore, it is a useful remedy for when an injury occurs. Actually, ice reduces tissues temperature, which in turn reduces cell metabolism in the area surrounding the lesion. Furthermore, a number of scientific studies have demonstrated that ice does not reduce swelling.
The main effect of cold on the skin is to reduce the speed of nerve conduction: this results in less pain. The swelling goes down afterwards.
What is the correct way to apply ice?
There are various ways to perform home-made "cryotherapy", but it is also true that not all of them are equally effective.
Let’s take for example the frozen food we all have in the freezer: these items can be useful to offer immediate relief but, for example, a pack of frozen peas cannot reach the temperature that the skin requires to slow down nerve conduction. Crushed ice is much better, reaching the ideal temperature within 5 minutes.
How long should ice be applied for?
The application time of an ice pack or any ice/cold device is around 20 minutes, a few times a day. These guidelines are generic though: each method is different from another. A bag with crushed ice, for example, allows the user to lower the nerve conduction after 5 minutes. Therefore it is best to seek advice from a doctor on how to proceed.
Should the skin be protected when applying ice?
Direct contact between ice and skin may cause burns or skin lesions, therefore be careful. It is advisable to use something to protect the skin: wrapping a towel around the ice bag or ice pack is the simplest and most effective solution.
Contraindications and precautions worth knowing
Before undergoing ice therapy, it is important to be aware of its contraindications and precautions.
Among the contraindications, we would like to mention:
- Active deep vein thrombosis or thrombophlebitis
- Hypersensitivity to cold
- Cold urticaria
- Tissues affected by tuberculosis
- Haemorrhagic tissue
- Untreated haemorrhagic disorders
- Areas with reduced circulation.
- Patients with heart failure
- Patients with hypertension
- Infected tissues
- Damaged skin.
Did you know these facts about cryotherapy? What do you think of it? Contact Dispotech and have your say!