How Ice Helps When You’re Hurt

Educational, Lifestyle
How to Ice an Injury

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How to Ice an Injury
How Ice Helps with Injuries

When you are injured, inflammation often occurs to the injured area. Inflammation like you might see when you twist your ankle, is when the tissue and blood vessels swell in the injured area. This is a normal part of the healing process and isn’t necessarily a negative because it allows immune cells to better access the affected area and speed up the healing process. But inflammation can lead to pain and swelling if there is too much of it.

When you use an ice pack, it reduces swelling, bruising, and muscle spasms that can occur with an injury. An ice pack is best used for injuries that are acute (in one specific area), recent, or overused (such as a runner’s knee).

How Ice Helps Headaches

Next time your head aches, reach for a cold compress. The ice actually helps your brain to focus on the cold rather than on the pain caused by the headache. This occurs because the cold constricts blood vessels which helps lessen the neurotransmission of pain.

General advice is to wrap the ice pack around your head, apply to the pain point, or to apply to the nape of your neck.

Cold Compress for Eyes

From pinkeye to dark circles, a cold compress on your eyes can help.

A cold eye compress can relieve the pain and swelling caused by pinkeye. Allergies, dry eyes, or an eye irritated from a contact lens? Ice is useful for any painful problems that affect your eyes.

To create an ice pack for your eyes, open a bag of Reddy Ice and place a handful ice cubes in a re-sealable plastic \ bag. If the ice is in larger chunks, you can break it into smaller pieces so it lies better on your eyes. Wrap the ice-filled bag in a clean washcloth or other fabric and place it on your eyes.

How to Apply Ice to an Injury

While R.I.C.E. may come to mind when you need first aid, C.B.A.N. (cold, burning, ache, and numbing) is an essential acronym to recall how long to ice an injury. Never place ice directly on an injury unless you are doing an ice rub. Use a thin cloth to protect your skin from the ice while ensuring that you can still feel the effects of the ice.

The first initial of steps to using an ice compress is C for cold. You will feel a cold sensation for three to five minutes when you first place the ice. Then you will experience a burning sensation that will turn into an ache, before going numb. The ice needs to be removed once the numbing sensation occurs as it can cause tissue damage.

The amount of time that one should apply ice to an injury ranges according to the problem and the person giving the recommendation. It is important to always follow your doctor’s advice.

There are three different methods of applying ice to an injury: ice pack, ice bath, and an ice massage. All methods pair great with a bag of Reddy Ice.

An ice pack is the most common of the three methods and is the best option if you are icing a large area such as a back spasm or swollen knee.

For pain points that are on peripheral areas, such as shin splints, consider an ice bath. This involves plunging oneself (or at least the affected areas) into a mixture of ice and water for 20 to 30 minutes.

If your pain is in a smaller, localized area, then an ice massage is a good solution. Rub an ice cube over the paint point in a circular motion for eight to ten minutes.

Reddy Ice is proud to provide premium packaged ice that is not only food safe, but provides pain relief.

  • High sensitivity to cold
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart problems
  • Heart Disease
  • Old age
If you are uncertain about your health history, consult a doctor first.

You should never apply ice packs to an injury that has an open wound. Never apply ice to an injury before a physical activity. If you have a sore knee, don’t ice it directly before running because ice causes muscles to contract which could cause further damage. Consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about using an ice pack.

The Southern California Orthopedic Institute recommends applying an ice pack early and often for the first 48 hours following an injury. This will help minimize swelling which in turn will aid in controlling the pain.