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Why A Cold Pack?
There is a mountain of evidence showing the positive effects of cold therapy following injury or surgery. It has long been an integral part of the First Aid standard of
Cold therapy helps to decrease pain and swelling and improve function. Because of this it leads to a quicker recovery and return to functional activity.
It is wise for anyone who lives an active life to have some form of cold therapy ready to use. After all, once you get injured, organising the application convenient ice therapy is the last thing on your mind. It needs to be ready to go.
Cold Packs come in two main types:
Gel Packs - Enclosed gel inserted directly into freezer then applied to injured body part.
Ice Bags - Ice or a mixture of ice and water contained in a bag that is applied to the body.
Typical Cold Pack
Why Is A Cold Pack Better Than Ice?
Firstly, the most important thing is getting ice quickly on the injured area. It really doesn't matter how you achieve this is the first instance, just get it on as soon as possible. The old fashioned bag of ice works fine in the short term as does a bag of frozen peas.
Following a severe injury or surgery, the intermittent application of cold is recommended. The skin needs periods without cold to ensure you do not cause an ice burn. A common protocol is for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. After each application the skin should be inspected for signs of damage.
If you are going to follow a program like this, you need a simple cold wrap that is effective but not messy. Ice quickly melts when exposed to body heat and it doesn't take much before you are soaked. Ice packs offer an easy way to apply consistent cold without the mess. It is common for people to have two on rotation to ensure there is always one ready fresh from the freezer.
The Versatile Cold Pack
This pack by Chattanooga is popular due to its wide range of applications. It has a tough vinyl exterior surrounding a non-toxic silica gel that remains flexible even when frozen. This allows it to wrap around a limb, increasing the contact surface area.
It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and is designed to last. It comes with a one year warranty but will be around much longer than that. Perfect for lower limb injuries.
Shoulder Ice Wrap
Icing the shoulder is more difficult. Flat cold packs struggle to have enough contact area to be efficient. This cold pack is an example of the ice bag type. Ice is placed directly into the contoured shoulder wrap that also provides compression.
This style of cold pack is useful for shoulder dislocations, rotator cuff tears and shoulder impingement.
Traditional Ice Bag
The Economy Cold Pack
You can still buy the traditional ice bag style cold packs.
These simple waterproof bags have a screw-cap opening to load ice directly into the pocket.
They are cheap and as long as you have a steady supply of ice can be used effectively.
Other Cold Pack Options
If you can't find what you want here you can check out one of the major medical retailers with a larger range such as The Braceshop
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Example of Cold Wrap
Post Surgery - Benefits of Cold Therapy
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