Cold or ice will not help you heal. It will though reduce inflammation and pain. Use cold packs immediately after your injury or any re-injury where there is a flare up of the condition. During your recovery you can use cold 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.
Cold treatments alone are 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 isn't 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.
ColdCure® compression wraps are designed specifically for the treatment of pain and swelling of soft tissue injuries. They are easy to use, safe, targeted and extremely effective. ColdCure Technology® provides control of the pain and swelling without the negative side effects of pain killers. The patient gets the relief they need to heal as quickly as possible. Our goal for our patients is to help them live without pain through the healing process.
Improving on the RICE standard of injury care, ColdCure® wraps are specifically designed to operate at either refrigerator or freezer temperatures. When stored in the freezer, the cold is more intense and lasts longer, though it is not advisable to use continuous treatments. When charged in a refrigerator, ColdCure® cold packs can be used continuously, one after another, for as long as you desire. This improved standard is called RCCE® (Rest, Cold, Compression, and Elevation). This is very important given the likelihood of skin damage from repeatedly using devices that require cold packs to be charged in a freezer.
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.
Alternating between cold and hot is a mistake. Cooling has one function - to reduce pain and inflammation by causing vasal restriction to reduce blood flow and deaden the nerves. This does not at all contribute to accelerating the healing process once the pain and inflammation have subsided. Heating has one function - to relax the muscles and remove strain from injured tissue. Depending on where you are at in your injury / recovery cycle you want to do one or the other. Alternating hot and cold only results in one treatment defeating the purpose of the other.
Use hot treatments only when the pain and swelling is under control. Always start at the lowest level and only increase the warmth if there is no additional pain. When you are still and your injury is protected you can use BFST® 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 hot applications 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. Hot treatments can help some injuries to heal. For rapid healing use Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy instead of hot packs.
Use Hot Pads To Relax the Muscles. Hot remedies can be very effective for relaxing muscles. Even if the muscles in the area of injury are not hurt themselves, tense muscles can put strain on other tissue in the area making things worse. So relaxing those muscles can help take the strain off your injury. In the first 48 hours, do not use hot treatments after a serious injury, use cold packs. If you mildly re-injure the area after it has started to heal, do not use heat until the new re-injury has stabilized, wait 4 to 48 hours depending on the severity of the re-injury. If you have a lot of swelling and pain, don't use hot remedies.
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 the increased level of activity you have during the day. It is recommend to do 4 to 6, twenty minute BFST® 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 and 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.
Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy is the envy of the heating pad. Where heating pads can cause an increase in blood flow at the surface of your skin, Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy (BFST® for short) works deep beneath your skin to promote circulation in your muscles, ligaments and tendons. BFST® is designed to increase blood flow in the injured tissue, resulting in accelerated and more complete healing.
A BFST® device is like a heating pad on steroids only not as hot. It too will help to loosen tight muscle/ligament/tendon tissues and it also stimulates blood flow to the affected area. It's so much better than just your standard hot pad. It provides deep penetrating warmth similar to how it would feel sitting out in the sun. It warms you to the core and helps to stimulate the blood flow that will provide the injured body part with the nutrient rich oxygenated blood it needs to heal more effectively. Most people don't realize that blood flow is the most critical element in rapid recovery for injuries of the ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
King Brand Healthcare's BFST® uses a patented Energy Web® technology that emits EMR (Electro Magnetic Radiation) energy. The energy is controlled and guided to surround the injury and promotes blood flow to the deep soft tissue beneath the skin. This technology provides the blood flow necessary to recover from an injury quickly and completely.
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 no 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 warmth 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.