- 1.Hot vs Cold Therapy
There is often confusion following an injury concerning whether to apply cold therapy or whether to warm the area. The answer depends on the type of injury you have sustained.
Acute injuries are those which result from traumatic incidents for example a fall, twisting movement or direct blow for example and are immediately painful.
When an acute injury first occurs, bleeding, inflammation, swelling and pain must all be controlled. Ice should be applied as soon as possible in order to cool the tissues, reduce their metabolic rate and nerve conduction velocity and cause vasoconstriction of the surrounding blood vessels.
Ice should remain in contact for up to 20 minutes at a time depending on the size of the area being treated and the depth of the injured tissues. It should be re-applied regularly, every 1-3 hours.
Following approximately the first 3-5 days of an acute injury, once bleeding has stopped and there are no signs of inflammation, you may wish to alternate cold and heat treatments. That is apply cold for 10 minutes, followed immediately by 10 minutes of heat. Doing this causes massive increases in blood flow to the area as the vasoconstriction caused by cooling reverses when heat is applied, resulting in an influx of blood to the damaged tissues. Ensure all bleeding has stopped before applying this technique. Blood is vitally important in providing all of the energy and nutrients that
Sports Injuries responsive
Chronic injuries usually do not present with a sudden onset. They tend to gradually build up over a period of days, weeks or longer and are often caused by overuse or biomechanical abnormality. A chronic injury can also be caused by an acute injury which fails to heal due to a lack of, or inappropriate treatment.
Heat therapy should be applied for 15-20 minutes in the form of hot water bottles, a warm damp towel, heat rub or commercially available heat pads. If using something such as a hot water bottle, ensure a suitable layer of protection is placed over the skin to prevent burns.
In general heat should be used to treat chronic injuries, to help relax tight, aching muscles and joints, increase elasticity of ligaments and tendons and increase the blood flow to the area. Heat therapy can also be used prior to exercise in chronic injuries to warm the muscles and increase flexibility.
The only time ice should be used on chronic injuries is after exercise, to reduce any residual swelling.
- 2.What is Cold Compression Therapy?
Cold compression therapy combines the benefits of cold therapy and compression therapy to provide optimal results for pain and swelling relief. Studies have shown that people who use cold therapy and compression therapy together as opposed to just one of those therapies alone recover from their injuries significantly faster. The many benefits of cold compression therapy include reducing pain, swelling, and edema, while promoting faster healing and muscle recovery, and stimulating blood flow. PowerPlay combines the benefits of a cold therapy machine (or cold therapy unit) and a compression machine to deliver intermittent compression therapy – meaning the compression pump inflates the wrap to the desired pressure, holds for 10 seconds, releases, then inflates again. Intermittent compression has been proven to be more effective than static compression because it moves the blood more effectively, helping push the swelling out of the system. PowerPlay also offers cold therapy through frozen gel packs or ice bags, which have been proven to reduce pain.
Cold and compression therapy can be applied to a variety of situations including post-surgical rehabilitation (such as MCL and ACL surgery recovery), injuries such as sprains, fractures, and tears, as well as pain and swelling. Most athletes are familiar with the RICE method for recovering from injuries, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. While we leave rest and elevation up to you, PowerPlay uses advanced technology to make your ice and compression more effective.
Compression alone is shown to be effective in reducing swelling and edema. Active compression, which compresses intermittently, pushes that swelling out of the injured site and to the body’s core so it can be disposed of through the lymphatic system. This type of compression also aids in enhancing the body’s blood flow, which helps deliver more oxygen to the injured area.
Cold therapy has also been proven to reduce pain and swelling, making your recovery faster and more comfortable. Doctors have recommended 20 minutes of cold therapy at a time, alternating between cold and warm or room temperature. We recommend using your PowerPlay gel pack after it has been initially frozen for one hour, then placing it on your affected area for 20 minutes, and returning it to the freezer while your body rests from the ice. Contrary to the assumption of “the colder, the better,” therapeutic cold has been shown to be between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Studies find that when active compression is coupled with cold therapy, it results in increased blood flow, and decreased swelling, edema, and muscle spasms. Applying ice or cold to your injury also makes recovery less painful and more comfortable.
These benefits of cold compression therapy amount to a faster and more pleasant recovery. This therapy can be applied to those suffering from minor joint pain, to major surgery rehabilitation (such as ACL surgery recovery) and anything in between. You can also benefit from a compression and cold therapy system for muscle recovery after training. Applying cold and compression to overworked, aching muscles will pump blood and oxygen through the area, and bring down swelling and fluids so that you can get back on your feet faster and be ready for your next event.
- 3.Why do I have to replenish the ice so often?
Immediately after surgery or an acute injury, your injury site produces higher amounts of heat than later in the recovery process. As Game Ready transfers this heat into the ice bath through the circulation of cold water, the ice melts faster. As you progress through your recovery and your body produces less heat, you will not need to replenish the ice as frequently.