Ice has been used for a long time to help reduce musculoskeletal pain. The application of cold, also known as cryotherapy, is predominantly used for acute injuries. Ice can shut down the formation of swelling (also known as edema), the body’s inflammatory response, and the sensation of pain. In fact, ice can also improve your pain threshold and may reduce pain up to one hour after its application.
Ice should be used 1-7 days after acute injury to effectively reduce inflammation caused by acute injury. In addition, it shouldn’t be applied for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time.
Ice massage is an easy and useful technique. As opposed to placing an ice pack on the injured area, you can easily make an ice cup at home.
Here’s how to do it:
- Fill a paper Dixie cup with water and place in freezer.
- Once frozen, peel a small amount of paper off the top to expose the ice surface.
- Gently massage the surface against area to be treated, using direct skin contact.
- As ice melts, peel the paper as needed.
- Ice for 10-15 minutes as tolerated.
Ice massage is a great way to get the benefits of ice while also providing a gentle massage to mobilize soft tissues in the same way as a regular massage.