Cold therapy is a proven and popular treatment method for sports injuries. It’s a natural and economical method of relieving pain following an injury.
One of the reasons athletes so widely use it is that it’s extremely effective at helping during both phases of an injury. Cold compresses can significantly reduce pain and swelling during the acute stage of an injury when it first occurs. They can also offer tremendous advantages in helping athletes heal more quickly during the recovery stage of their injuries.
Let’s take a more detailed look at how cold therapy can play an instrumental role in mitigating pain and supporting healing after sports injuries.
The PRICE Principles Of Cold Therapy
Cold therapy is accompanied by a set of principles spelled out by the acronym PRICE. PRICE stands for:
After a sports injury, you need to ensure that the injured area is kept protected with a splint, a cast, or whatever is appropriate to the specific type and level of injury.
Appropriately protecting an injured body part allows it to heal correctly, which can be critical in regaining full function and avoiding long-term pain and residual issues.
Rest allows injured tissues to heal more quickly than they would if they had to deal with the usual stress of daily use.
And with some injuries, “playing through it” and continuing to use the affected body part after an injury can cause lasting damage and complications.
Applying ice to injuries restricts the blood vessels around the injury and even helps block pain signals to the brain.
This blocking of pain signals reduces muscle spasms that can occur after injuries, lowers cellular metabolism, and reduces cellular death in the affected area.
Compression helps to modulate the bodily fluids that are produced after an injury that are associated with swelling and similar processes.
And similarly to ice, compression helps narrow the blood vessels around an injury, which is one of the reasons that they combine so well together to treat sports injuries.
Keeping the injured area of your body elevated helps gravity pull fluids away from the damaged area.
This can be very helpful in reducing the swelling that contributes to pain.
Using Ice For Acute Sports Injuries
Although cold therapy may not be ideal for some individuals, such as those with heart conditions or cold hypersensitivity problems, it effectively relieves symptoms of acute sports injuries for most athletes.
Acute injuries are the types of injuries that are immediately painful, such as those resulting from a direct blow such as a sprain or strain or a torn muscle.
When using ice or cold compresses to treat an acute sports injury, keep the following steps and protocols in mind:
- When the injury first occurs, your main priorities should be to control the swelling and inflammation, the bleeding, and the pain.
- Apply ice or a cold compress to the damaged tissues as soon as possible after bleeding has been controlled. This will reduce the tissues’ metabolic rate and slow down the process of cell death.
- Keep the ice or cold compress in contact with the injured area for a period of 20 minutes before removing it and reapplying every 1-3 hours.
Following these steps can help reduce the acute damage and pain after an injury and improve the healing trajectory and process afterward.
Rapid Aid Has The Cold Therapy Solution You Need
Cold therapy is one of the most effective sports injury mitigation methods. Rapid Aid can provide retail and medical distributors with cold therapy compression solutions to support your orthopedic, sports medicine, and facility supplier’s needs. We manufacture a wide range of cold compress products such as instant cold packs for on-the-spot relief, economical and reusable cold gel compresses and wraps, and clay and oat compresses.
And if your sports company has private labeling needs, be sure to check out Rapid Aid’s white-label solutions.