Whether you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, while at work or in some other way, it is important that you understand how to deal with the inflammatory process that occurs with an injury. Injury is synonymous with inflammation and it is imperative that we reduce inflammation as soon as possible in order to properly recover. One of the first steps in injury healing is dealing with this inflammatory phase using cryotherapy (ice). The use of ice/cold helps reduce pain and swelling.
Proper application: Apply an ice or cold pack to the affected region as soon after the injury as possible. Apply for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times per day. Do not apply directly to the skin, always use a towel between the ice and the skin. This plan may change following your evaluation with a doctor but this is a good first step.
Precautions when Using Ice:
- Do not use ice over areas of skin that are in poor condition
- Do not use over areas of skin that have poor sensation to heat or cold
- Do not use ice over areas of the skin with known poor circulation
- Do not use if you are diabetic
- Do not use in the presence of infection
All of these are general guidelines. Any time you sustain an injury, whether related to a vehicle accident, at work or otherwise you should consult with a physician for evaluation. Your physician should take a complete history, perform a physical examination, diagnose you condition and determine a proper treatment plan for your specific condition. It is important that you do not minimize your injuries and that you seek care when you sustain a trauma of any type.
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