Ice is a common treatment option for different types of injuries. Obviously, ice can trigger reactions once applied on an affected body part. If an individual engages in sports or other physical activities, it is important to be familiar on how ice works on injuries.
Diminishing pain and inflammation
The application of ice on injuries can help minimize the pain and inflammation. Nevertheless, it causes further damage to the area by creating an ice burn that can cause tissue damage. It is best to register in a first aid course so that you will learn how to use ice on injuries properly.
If you are going to apply ice on an injured body part, place a clean towel or cloth that serves as a barrier against the extreme cold. If not using a barrier, it results to further damage to the skin. Today, some of the ice packs in the market have a fabric sleeve as padding. The fabric layers helps lessen the cold. Most individuals out there have a pain threshold that is quickly reached once ice is placed directly on the skin for more than a few seconds.
Constricting the blood vessels
Ice basically works by constricting the blood vessels in the site of injury, thus diminishing the flow of blood to the area. On the other hand, the flow of blood is a natural healing process that the body uses to bring the white blood cells to the injury site to start the healing.
Even though ice can reduce the swelling by limiting the amount of blood and other fluids that enters the site, it can also slow down the healing process. With this in mind, do not apply ice for a long period. Do not use ice for more than 10 minutes at a time.
Ice also causes the lymphatic system close to the site of injury to open up and flood the area with fluids that can actually contribute to the pain and swelling if in place for a long period. Always remember that a short time frame of ice application is the best since the fat cells will preserve the lowered temperature for a longer time which is true even if the ice has already been removed. This is the reason why the leg or arm still feels cold several minutes after the ice is taken away.
Right time frame for ice application
If an injury occurs, use ice for 10 minutes right after the injury and wait for 30 minutes before applying again for another 10 minutes. Do this 2 times in an hour as long as necessary to minimize the swelling.
Obviously, the skin will not get ice burned while the lymphatic system is doing its job correctly. After a while, this reduces the swelling between the periods of application. This simply means that it is a good sign that ice is effective. It is best to use ice economically when it comes to treating soft tissue injuries.