Cold therapy represents one of the best and most efficient ways of treating injuries in medical science today, and has been utilized by medical professions for hundreds of years. It is one of the most important parts of R.I.C.E., an acronym that is a standard in many kinds of medicine and physical therapy. Rest (R) means staying off the injury for a period of time to relieve pressure and prevent further injury. Ice (I) stands for cold therapy, usually the addition of a Polar Pack on the injury. Compression (C) decreases the amount of swelling and usually requires a firm bandage that still allows proper blood flow. Elevation (E) also helps relieve the swelling by decreasing blood flow and pressure to the injury.
Why a Polar Pack Works
A Polar Pack is part of cryotherapy which is a commonly utilized method of healing injuries that has decades of documented proof to support its effectiveness. Cold therapy works because the lower temperature slows the metabolic reaction of the injured tissue as well as that surrounding it. This prevents the cells from transmitting pain and also aids the tissue in surviving the injury. It is one of the reasons why transported organs are kept on ice. The slower the metabolic rate, the better the chances of healing.
Proper Application of Cold Therapy
Medical news shows us that a Polar Pack can be applied incorrectly. Keeping injuries too cold can actually cause damage to the injured tissue. First, the temperature of ice or ice packs is well below freezing. If applied directly to the skin for too long, it can cause frostbite. There are two ways to prevent this. You can place protective layers of cloth between your skin and the ice pack to prevent it from getting too cold. Another method is limiting the ice pack to fifteen minutes of ice and then fifteen minutes without. Alternating it with and without ice prevents injuries while still retaining the benefits of cold therapy.
Types of Polar Packs
There is a Polar Pack for virtually any kind of injury or need. Some of the largest ones also feature straps to support it on the body so it can be positioned to maximum effectiveness. Smaller packs can be tossed in a freezer and kept in case of injury and are light enough to be held in the hand. The instant ice packs use an endothermic reaction to drop the temperature of the pack to just above freezing for ten to fifteen minutes, enough time to decrease pain and swelling.