Cold therapy that involves the use of cold packs is utilized in order to minimize swelling and pain. It is important to note that neck pain from various causes including sports injuries, trauma or constant use can be reduced with the application of cold packs.
Cold is often the initial therapeutic measure used after an injury since it helps reduce the immediate pain, level of inflammation and intensity of the muscular spasms. The proper application of cold packs will help reduce the neck pain, muscle tightness and swelling.
When not to use cold packs
The application of cold packs is not advisable over body parts where tingling, numbness or lack of sensation is felt due to the fact that the level of coldness could not be felt. In case hives, Raynaud’s phenomenon or rash triggered by exposure to cold, cold packs should not be used.
How heat and cold works
It is important to note that heat and ice are the commonly used non-invasive therapies. When it comes to cold therapy, it helps constrict the blood vessels in order to slow down the circulation, resulting to the reduction of spasms, pain and swelling. Always bear in mind that cold is ideally applied on freshly acquired injuries.
As for heat therapy, it promotes additional flow of blood to the affected area through vasodilation. Cold therapy must only be used and heat therapy must be avoided during the first 72 hours or the acute phase. You can learn about the effectiveness of these measures by enrolling in a first aid class today.
Proper application of cold packs
The cold pack must be applied over the sore area in the neck. In case a headache caused by muscle tension is present, the position of the cold pack must be on the higher part of the rear of the neck where it joins the skull. The cold pack must be covered with a cloth or towel to help preserve the coldness. Do not apply a cold pack directly on bare skin. Always make sure that the skin is protected from overexposure as well as possible skin and nerve damage by providing a barrier such as cloth or towel between the skin and the cold pack.
Length of cold therapy
The ideal time length for the application of cold packs is between 10-20 minutes. This should be followed by 60 minutes without the cold pack. After the break, the cold pack can be reapplied for another 10-20 minutes. This can be repeated several times in a day to minimize the pain, swelling and muscle spasms in the neck. In case pain persists up to three days, consult a doctor.
Considerations to bear in mind
The neck can become sore, tight, swollen from a variety of activities. Take note that the muscles in the neck connect the head to the vertebra, collar bones, sternum and the shoulder blades. The neck is responsible for moving and supporting the head. Proper care to the neck is vital to fitness, health, productivity and functionality.