One of the most effective ways to treat pain in the body is with ice, also called cryotherapy. When you hurt, you just want it to stop and will consider doing almost anything. Many people realize that taking pain medication is only masking their problem and is toxic to their livers, so are reluctant to do so.What’s the safe alternative? Icing. You can ice anywhere on your body, but I recommend considering it most effective on joints such as ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders or anywhere along your spine.The question I am asked the most is about timing. If you have sustained an injury, use ice (not heat) for the first 48-72 hours. After that, if the injury is to a joint, continue to ice it, otherwise, you can try using heat.
How long should you apply the ice? The truth is, no one can tell you the correct answer. When you apply ice, you will feel a pattern of sensations and whichever sensation you are having when you remove the ice is the sensation that will linger. Therefore, you should always wait until you have become numb before removing the ice.
Many factors can contribute to that taking more or less time, such as how big or little is the body part, how cold is your cold source, how cold is the ambient temperature and how thick is the barrier between your skin and the ice.
When you place the could source against the part of the body that is swollen and/or painful, the pattern of sensations will be:
4. Numbness – the desired effect. Now you can remove the ice.