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 Using Ice and Heat to treat injuries 
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Post Using Ice and Heat to treat injuries
Ice
With any sprain, strain or bruise there is some bleeding into the underlying tissues. This may cause swelling, pain and delay healing. Ice treatment may be used in both the immediate treatment of soft tissue injuries and in later rehabilitation.

During immediate treatment, the aim is to limit the body's response to injury. Ice will:

- Reduce bleeding into the tissues.
- Prevent or reduce swelling.
- Reduce muscle spasm and pain.
- Reduce pain by numbing the area and by limiting the effects of swelling which causes pain.

These effects all help to prevent the area from becoming stiff by reducing excess tissue fluid that gathers as a result of injury and inflammation.

Icing an injured body part is an important part of treatment but it must be done properly. Here's how:

Get the ice on quickly.
Icing is most effective in the immediate period following an injury. The effect of icing diminishes significantly after about 48 hours.

Perform an "ice massage."
Apply ice directly to the injury. Move the ice frequently, not allowing it to sit in one spot.

Don't forget to elevate.
Keep the injured body part elevated above the heart while icing -- this will further help reduce swelling.

Watch the clock.
Ice for 15-20 minutes, but never longer. You can cause further damage to the tissues, including frostbite, by icing for too long.

Allow time between treatments.
Allow area to warm for at least 45 minutes or an hour before beginning the icing routine again.

Repeat as desired.
Ice as frequently as you wish, so long as the area is warm to touch and has normal sensation before repeating.

Tips:
Ice Option 1 -- Traditional:
Use a Ziploc bag with ice cubes or crushed ice. Add a little water to the ice bag so it will conform to your body.

Ice Option 2 -- Best:
Keep paper cups filled with water in your freezer. Peel the top of the cup away and massage the ice-cup over the injury in a circular pattern allowing the ice to melt away.

Ice Option 3 -- Creative:
Use a bag of frozen peas or corn from the frozen goods section. This option provides a reusable treatment method that is also edible.

Prevent Frostbite:
Do not allow ice to sit against the skin without a layer of protection. Either continually move the ice (see "ice massage") or use a thin towel between the ice and skin.

In the later, or rehabilitation, phase of recovery the aims change to restoring normal function. At this stage the effects of ice can enhance other treatments such as exercise by reducing pain and muscle spasm. This then allows better movement. If you have to do exercises as part of your treatment it can be useful to do them with ice in place or immediately after it is removed when the area will still be a little numb. This reduces pain and makes movement around the injury more comfortable.

How do you make ice packs?
Ice packs can be made from ice cubes in a plastic bag or wet tea towel. A packet of frozen peas is also ideal. These mould nicely and can go in and out of the freezer. Purpose made cold packs can also be bought from pharmacies. Take care when using ice and cold packs from a deep freeze. These are very cold and can cause ice burns quickly if used without care and proper protection.

How are ice packs used?
Ideally, rub a small amount of oil over the area where the ice pack is to go (any oil can be used, even cooking oil!). If the skin is broken or there are stitches in place, do not cover in oil but protect the area with a plastic bag. This will stop the wound getting wet.

Place a cold wet flannel over the oil (do not need if using plastic bag).

Place the ice pack over the flannel.

Check the colour of the skin after 5 minutes. If it is bright pink/red remove the pack. If it is not pink replace the bag for a further 5-10 minutes.

Ice can be left on for 20 to 30 minutes but there is little benefit to be gained by leaving it on for longer. You run the risk of damaging the skin if ice is left on the skin for more than 20-30 minutes at a time.

The effect of the ice pack is thought to be improved if it is pressed gently onto the injured area.

Ice can burn or cause frostbite if the skin is not protected with oil and/or other protection such as a wet flannel.

How long should ice be applied?
Ideally, ice should be applied within 5-10 minutes of injury for 20-30 minutes. This can be repeated every 2-3 hours or so whilst your are awake for the next 24-48 hrs.

After the first 48 hours when bleeding should have stopped the aim of treatment changes from restricting bleeding and swelling to getting the tissues re-mobilised with exercise and stretching. Ice helps with pain relief and relaxation of muscle tissue.

Heat
Do not use heat on a new injury (for example soaking in a hot bath, using heat lamps, hot water bottles, deep heat creams, etc). These will increase bleeding and make the problem worse.

When an injury is older than 48 hours, heat can be applied in the form of heat pads, deep heat cream, hot water bottles or heat lamps. Heat causes the blood vessels to dilate (open wide) which brings more blood into the area. It also has a direct soothing effect and helps to relieve pain and spasm. If heat is applied to the skin it should not be hot, gentle warmth will suffice. If heat is applied there is the risk of burns and scalds. The skin must be checked at regular intervals.

Ice often gives better and longer lasting effect on the circulation than heat. The pain killing properties of ice are also deeper and longer lasting than heat.

Precautions when using heat and ice:
Do not use cold packs or heat:

- over areas of skin that are in poor condition.
- over areas of skin with poor sensation to heat or cold.
- over areas of the body with known poor circulation.
- if you have diabetes.
- in the presence of infection.

Also, do not use ice packs on the left shoulder if you have a heart condition.
Do not use ice packs around the front or side of the neck.

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Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:23 pm
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Post Re: Using Ice and Heat to treat injuries
That's a lotta information to read through just at the mo' but is there anything pertaining to relieving orthopedic pain in there?


Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:45 pm
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Post Re: Using Ice and Heat to treat injuries
I am a Banana wrote:
That's a lotta information to read through just at the mo' but is there anything pertaining to relieving orthopedic pain in there?



Specifically? Meaning describe the ortho pain, location, type...

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Listen here sonny, there aint no disaster.
There aint no shame in bein' beaten by a master!
~ Johnny Lang - Rack 'em up


Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.


Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:46 pm
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Post Re: Using Ice and Heat to treat injuries
Ok...

1. right sholder has a hooked acromion. Nerves and such get pinched etc. There's a lot of clicking during arm movement - possible/probable rotary cuff damage involved.

2. regular inflammation of the knees - right one worse than the left. Lots of clicking there too.

3. lower lumber region - narrowing of the nerve canal down there acts up during heavy lifting and causes siatica and pain etc.

Apologies for hijacking your thread like this :S


Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:00 pm
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Post Re: Using Ice and Heat to treat injuries
I am a Banana wrote:
Ok...

1. right sholder has a hooked acromion. Nerves and such get pinched etc. There's a lot of clicking during arm movement - possible/probable rotary cuff damage involved.

2. regular inflammation of the knees - right one worse than the left. Lots of clicking there too.

3. lower lumber region - narrowing of the nerve canal down there acts up during heavy lifting and causes siatica and pain etc.

Apologies for hijacking your thread like this :S



Never need to apologize for asking good questions Hatch! Ok, in order....

1) if you have rotator cuff damage theres really only two solutions, immobility or surgery. By immobilizing the arm for a while you can allow the rotator cuff to heal as well as it can on it's own without continual reinjury DURING the healing process which can lead to scar tissue and possibly even loss of ROM. Heat will increase musclular flexibility and help flush the area. Clicking is there to stay....

2) NSAIDS will do wonders for knees as will a good alternating ICE/HEAT treatment. Ice for about 5 minutes then immediately switch to a moist heat - hot as you can reasonably stand for 3, then back to ice... repeast for a total of 32 minutes...

3) Heating pads for muscular elasticity but ICE, ICE and MORE ICE to reduce inflammation and make as much room in there as possible.... although just dealing with the sciatica might be less painful, lol...

_________________
I have flying monkeys and I'm not afraid to use them!

Listen here sonny, there aint no disaster.
There aint no shame in bein' beaten by a master!
~ Johnny Lang - Rack 'em up


Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.


Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:22 pm
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Post Re: Using Ice and Heat to treat injuries
Thanks pal, I appreciate it :)


Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:25 pm
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