Putting ice or frozen items directly on your skin can ease pain, but it also can damage your skin. It's best to wrap the cold object in a thin towel to protect your skin from the direct cold, especially if you are using gel packs from the freezer.
Apply the ice or gel pack for about
10 to 20 minutes several times a day. Check your skin often for sensation while using
cold therapy. This will help make sure you aren't damaging the tissues.
You might need to combine cold
therapy with other approaches to pain management:
Rest. Take a break from activities that can make your pain worse.
Compression. Applying pressure to the area can help control swelling and pain. This also stabilizes the area so that you do not further injure yourself.
Elevation. Put your feet up, or elevate whatever body part is in pain.
Pain medicine. Over-the-counter products can help ease discomfort.
Rehabilitation exercises. Depending on where your injury is, you might want to try stretching and strengthening exercises that can support the area as recommended by your healthcare provider.
Stop applying ice if you lose
feeling on the skin where you are applying it. If cold therapy doesn't help your pain go
away, contact your healthcare provider. Also, you may want to avoid cold therapy if you
have certain medical conditions, like diabetes, that affect how well you can sense