What is Cryotherapy?

By Izzie • General, Health • 1 Nov 2013

Cryotherapy, also known as ice therapy and cold therapy, is an important part of treating injuries. Ice packs are used in the acute stages – early stages – of sports injuries. This is to prevent swelling, relieve pain and cool the tissue temperature down to prevent further damage following the initial impact.

Cold therapy can be applied via a reusable gel pack or an instant ice pack. These types of ice packs are a technological advancement in that they become instant ice when you twist and break the seal. The two reacting chemicals freeze quickly to produce an instant ice pack.

When may cryotherapy be applied?

Ice packs are standard procedure following knee surgery like meniscectomy, arthroscopy, and ligament reconstruction. The ice helps relieve pain, prevent swelling and improve overall range of movement. The control of the swelling and pain help to speed up recovery time with sports injuries. Sportsman can start training again faster and use the aid of sports ice packs after sessions to help keep the injury conditioned.

The benefit of instant ice packs.

Instant ice packs are obviously ideal for the sports physio, especially in hot climates. They may need to be sitting on a bench or dugout in the heat waiting for a footballer or sports star to get injured. Needing a fridge to keep the packs cold is rather cumbersome. Instant ice packs allow the physio to simply have the ice pack available when they need it. They also allow the physio to have an instant solution at hand, and having something readily available in the moments after injury is imperative for the quick recovery of the person injured.

Why is ‘instant’ cryotherapy beneficial?

Cryotherapy is beneficial in the initial stages of an injury to prevent bruising, trauma, cool the area and help prevent further damage. However, this treatment method can also be used daily by sports people that may have on-going niggling injuries and bumps. The ice can keep the injury at bay and muscle tissues relaxed after a heavy training session.

Sports science continues to develop in all areas of treatment and nutrition, but it seems that ice therapy – in whatever form will stick around for the foreseeable future in the treatment of injuries to sports stars. At least the general idea that cold temperatures prevent bruising, damage and quicken the healing process is here to stay anyway, which means at the moment there is no better method.

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