Cold Therapy as Part of Physical Therapy When Recovering From an Injury
I.C.E. DOWN Ice Wraps
Combining cold therapy with physical therapy can greatly speed your recovery from an injury. It is often referred to as cryokinetics, which means cold and movement. Cryokinetic therapy allows you to progress rapidly through your physical therapy program without causing damage, so you can regain range of motion (ROM) and strength before atrophy has a chance to set in. Cold therapy makes you comfortable enough to tolerate the exercises and prevents tissue damage at the same time.
Icing the injury before you begin moving it numbs the area so your exercises are pain-free. The cold numbs the existing pain, but does not block new pain signals which let you know when you are overdoing it and making the injury worse.
You begin by using cold therapy for about ten to 20 minutes, depending on the body part and the cold source. With many cryokinetic modalities, you can exercise for about two to three minutes before the sensation starts to return. Then you must ice again for about three to five minutes, so you can do more exercises.
The beauty of I.C.E. DOWN ice wraps for cryokinetics is that you can wear them while you perform your exercises, so you do not have to stop and re-ice the area.
Cold therapy not only makes you comfortable enough to tolerate physical therapy, it prevents inflammation and tissue damage which could otherwise be caused by the activity.
Ideally, cryokinetic exercise should be performed two or three times a day. Your physical therapist can teach you how to perform the exercises at home, so you do not have to go into the office several times a day.
Cryokinetic exercises are progressive. You start out with very basic and gentle range of motion exercises, and work your way up quickly to weight-bearing exercises.
Any time you experience exercise-induced pain, it means you need to stop. Your physical therapist will teach you how to differentiate between existing pain, exercise-induced pain, and pain caused by the cold.
Benefits of Cryokinetics
Adding cold therapy to physical therapy has many advantages over physical therapy alone. Benefits of cryokinetics include:
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