Ice or cold will not help you heal. It will reduce inflammation and pain. Use ice immediately after your injury or any re-injury where there is a flare up of the condition. During your recovery you can use ice and compression any time to help with the pain and swelling. For sprains, strains, and tears, ice will not help you heal. It won't harm you though so use it for the pain. For repetitive strain injuries like tendonitis (or almost any diagnosis ending in 'itis'), cold can help you recover from your condition.
Ice alone is not nearly as effective as compression plus cold together. And ice packs below freezing can be dangerous and burn the skin. Be careful when using ice. The best choice for treating the pain and swelling of an injury is cold compression. This is explained in more detail below. But first...
First, it's very important to recognize that pain and swelling are not the problem, but only the sign of the problem.
When your body experiences an acute injury, which is caused by a traumatic and sudden injury, it swells instantly and is very painful. Inflammation is part of our body's natural process to heal itself and to stop the internal bleeding. Pain is there to stop you from doing things that can make the injury worse. Pain is there to be your guide. The only reason we feel pain is so that we react to help protect our injury.
During this stage it's very important to rest your body and apply RCCE® (Rest, Cold, Compression, Elevation) for 1 to 3 days (could be longer depending on the severity of your injury) to reduce the pain and swelling. King Brand Healthcare makes a ColdCure® wrap that is excellent for this treatment. Make sure you visit your doctor, so they can diagnose the severity of your injury.
The over-sized cold packs in all ColdCure® wraps contain specially formulated gel with more cooling power per lb than standard wraps. This allows for longer treatment durations without having to recharge the gel or switch cold packs. The longer treatment times and more cold power mean more pain relief, better control of swelling and less handling of the injured area. These all result in a better treatment for your injuries. Each ColdCure® wrap comes with 3 large cold packs allowing for immediate re-use in clinical settings or the ability for extended treatment durations in the patient's home.
ColdCure® wraps are enclosed in a soft, comfortable neoprene wrap. The gel packs are specifically designed for each body part. We do not use one common gel pack in all wraps - each body part is shaped very differently from any other body part and each body part deserves a custom designed pack if it's going to work the best. No other wrap in the world has specifically designed cold packs for each and every part of the body. The wrap molds the cold pack around the specific body part to ensure that there is an even distribution of cooling power over the entire injured area.
Use heat only when the pain and swelling is under control. Always start at the lowest level and only increase the heat if there is no additional pain. When you are at rest and your injury is protected you can use heat to loosen the muscles around the area and help the tissue relax. Tight muscles can be holding open small tears in your tissue, preventing it from healing. Use heat only for short durations of 30 minutes or less so you don't overheat the tissue. Give your injury a chance to return to normal temperature before applying heat again. Don't use ice to bring the tissue temperature back down. Let the body return to temperature naturally. Heat can help some injuries to heal. For rapid healing use Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy instead of heat.
First thing in the morning is a perfect time to give yourself your first treatment of the day. It will help warm and loosen up the injured area before you take on the day. While you sleep the muscles around the injured area can tighten and blood flow can slow. A BFST® treatment in the morning will limber the area and stimulate the blood flow needed not just to heal, but to support your increased level of activity you have during the day. It is recommend you do 4 to 6, twenty minute treatments each day. The BFST® products are portable. You can take them with you and all you need is an outlet to plug it into. Use it while at rest to give yourself a 20 minute treatment during the day.
BFST® treatments should be given when pain and inflammation are already under
control. If you have just re-injured yourself and are in extra pain use RCCE® to
get over the initial trauma. Once the pain and inflammation have subsided for
a few hours you can resume regular BFST® treatments. BFST® is also excellent
prior to any heavy activity. Think of it as a warm up for your fragile
body part before undertaking a task. Professional athletes often use
BFST® treatments prior to competing to ward off potential injuries
from the heavy strain they are about to endure.
The more you stimulate your blood flow, the more you stimulate the healing process. So, the more you use your BFST, the more benefit you will gain from it. If you use it 4 times per day, that's better than 2. 2 is better than 1. It is better to spread out your treatments over the duration of the day than it is to take them close together. Back to back BFST treatments without a period of rest in between is not much better than just 1 treatment. 1 treatment affects the blood flow in your body for hours after the treatment ends, so spread out the treatments and do them often.
The effects of BFST® treatments are also cumulative. That means the more regularly you get them the more you will gain from each treatment. This is a lot like exercise. In fact, BFST can be thought of as exercise for your circulatory system. The more you exercise the stronger your body becomes and the more powerful you are. The more you exercise your circulatory system the stronger it becomes and the more effective it is at providing blood flow.
This cumulative effect can be noticed after a period of treatments. The first time you give yourself a BFST treatment the treatment will feel quite warm on the low setting. After each treatment though, the warm feeling gradually becomes less and less apparent until you can hardly notice it. This is because your circulation is improving and the heat generated by the treatment is removed more quickly by the increased blood flow. As you progress with more treatments and move up in power levels the reduction in noticeable heat continues.
BFST® treatments should never feel hot. If they do you are using a power level higher than you are ready for. If you feel a lot of heat at the lowest setting this simply means you are starting with severely impaired blood flow so you may need to reduce your treatment times at first, perhaps to even just a few minutes. Over time, as your blood flow improves, you can work up to the 20 minute treatments and eventually higher levels. Exercise your circulatory system regularly. Your injury will benefit from it.