As with any bruise, strain, or sprain, there’s some bleeding going on in the underlying tissues that could result in pain and swelling, which in turn could postpone healing. You can use ice therapy for immediate treatment, as well as dealing with injuries to the soft tissues.
Ice Therapy for Immediate Treatment
When treating a soft tissue injury, industry professional MS Sports and Health explains that the goal is to limit your body’s reaction to the injury. Using therapy ice bags can help in reducing bleeding into the soft tissues, reducing muscle spasms and pain, reducing or preventing inflammation or swelling, and reducing pain through numbing the affected area. These effects will significantly aid in preventing the injured site from setting and becoming rigid by reducing any surplus tissue fluid that have accumulated due to swelling.
It is recommended that you first apply some oil — any kind — before applying ice bags to avoid frostbite or ice burns. If your skin is damaged or if the site has stitches, don’t use oil and instead cover the site with clean plastic to avoid getting the wound wet. Check your skin’s color after five minutes and if it’s red or dark pink, remove the ice bag. If not, apply for five to ten minutes until dark pink.
You can apply ice bags between five and ten minutes following your injury for between 20 and 30 minutes and repeated for two to three hours for a day or two. Don’t leave the ice bag for longer than 30 minutes to prevent injury your skin. Additionally, if your injured site is not too sore, you can press the ice bag gently to enhance its effects.
While using therapy ice bags is generally safe, you should applying ice if the injured site has damaged or broken skin, is potentially infected, or if you’re suffering from diabetes. Likewise, don’t use ice packs over skin areas with poor responsiveness to cold or heat and areas with poor blood circulation. Lastly avoid applying ice bags on your left shoulder if you’re diagnosed with a heart problem or around the sides or back of your neck.