The Wide Application of Cold Hot Pack
Application of cold packs made from water beads, more properly known as cryotherapy, decreases the temperature of injured tissue. This helps diminish pain, slow down muscle metabolism, and minimize muscle spasm. As a result—and here’s the key—the inflammatory process is decreased which aides in tissue recovery after trauma. Introduction of heat to the area will have the opposite effect. It increased blood flow to the area and can actually accelerate the inflammatory process in acute injuries. Therefore, any time there is an acute sport injury with swelling or inflammation present, heat is not appropriate.
Depending on the acuity of the sports injury, you need to choose different methods to use cold hot pack. Ice applied right after the injury occurs reduces muscle metabolism and decreases the degree of tissue damage due to inflammation. Later, when the sports injury is in its sub-acute phase, the primary purpose of cold therapy is to relieve pain to help facilitate exercise and activity tolerance.
The cold packs made from gel bead have been proven to be useful to deal with injuries. Mode and duration of cold therapy is important. Large, flexible gel ice packs that can surround the joint provide superior skin cooling effects when compared to rigid ice packs. Research articles recommend anywhere from 10-20 minutes 2-4 times a day up to 30-45 min every two hours. I typically suggest that more severe injuries and post-operative patients apply ice more frequently but for the average sports injury 10-20 minutes 2 times a day, especially after activity, is adequate for cold therapy.