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Cold Therapy and Physiotherapy

Also known as cryotherapy, cold therapy refers specificly to the use of cold or cooling treatment modalities for patients with pain.

With a cold pack, our senior physiotherapists can use the power of cold to compress and vasoconstrict vessels, to help decrease the amount of swelling flowing/moving into a local area of tissues, which slows down swelling as well as the natural pain chemicals that get released in tandem with injury/swelling.

...resulting in

  • pain relief
  • decreased swelling and
  • decreased inflammation

Cold therapy will decrease swelling to some degree (and in some situations, may even be able to stop bleeding) at the local injury site, and that's why it is an important part of pain and injury management.

We use these cold treatments usually after therapy treatments (depending on the swelling/how acute the condition/pain is), or as and when where there is injury and there is acute pain.

If you combine it with resting, immobilization (rest), elevation as well as anti-inflammation medicine, they will work synergistically and rapidly to bring down swelling and pain.

Common conditions where cold therapy is applied/can be useful:

How to apply cold therapy if you sustained an injury and awaiting treatment

If you received/sustained an acute injury (or a flare up) due to direct trauma (such as accidents, falls, hit by object etc), if there is no open wound, you can and should immediately apply ice/cold pack therapy to the injured site.

Please DO NOT apply ice directly, as that may cause frost-bite/ice-burn, or worse, if there is open wound, it may introduce foreign bacteria into the wounds. What you should do instead is to place the ice into a plastic bag, add some water (makes it colder), seal it up, and cover with a layer of towel.

Then apply to injured site intermittently (one minute on, 15 seconds off) and repeat.

Please do note apply the ice directly, nor ice more than 5 minutes directly, remember to do it intermittently.

Do seek medical advice and our senior physiotherapists to help you.