Overview on ice treatment

Fact Checked

Ice treatment involves ice to manage pain or swelling from injuries. The ice works by reducing the swelling by lowering the blood flow to the damaged tissue. Ice also helps lessen the pain by slowing down the muscle and nerve activity which relaxes the tightening of the muscles and lessens nerve irritation.

When should I use one?

Remember that ice treatment must be utilized during the initial few days after an injury or until the swelling subsides.

It is also useful after engaging in physical activities that trigger discomfort from overuse. If an individual experiences knee pain after running or in the elbow after playing tennis or golf, ice treatment can be utilized.

ice treatment
Remember that ice treatment must be utilized during the initial few days after an injury or until the swelling subsides.

How to properly use ice treatment

Apply an ice pack on the site of injury as soon as possible, but make sure that it is not directly applied on the skin. The ice pack must be covered with a towel or cloth. Apply on the sore area every 3-4 hours for 20-minute sessions at a time.

When it comes to overuse injuries, the doctor might suggest an ice massage. You should freeze water in a paper cup. Once it has solidified, peel the top part of the cup to open the ice. Grasp the bottom of the cup and brush over the sore area for 5-10 minutes. This can be done a number of times throughout the day if there is pain.


If ice is applied directly on the skin and left for a long time, it can damage the skin, nerves, muscles and other tissues either briefly or permanently. Certain body parts such as the knees, elbows and feet are susceptible to injury if they become too cold.

In case the individual has blood vessel, nerve or skin issues, a doctor should be consulted if ice treatment is safe to use.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on ice treatment is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn more about the uses of ice treatment, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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