In many cases, temporary pain and even additional injury can be minimized and even avoided by a simple application of ice. Ice, applied in a timely manner and in an appropriate way, can reduce inflammation. Inflammation left unchecked can allow the source of the pain to continue doing damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other structures.
Ice causes the veins in the affected tissue area to constrict. This reduces the flow of blood while acting as kind of anesthetic to numb the pain. But when the ice is removed (and this is key), the veins compensate by expanding, which then allows a large volume of blood to rush to the affected area. The blood brings with it important chemicals that aid in the healing process.
Back and neck injuries frequently involve muscle sprains and strained ligaments, which can spasm and become inflamed.
Ice massage, or cryotherapy, is effectively used to treat many kinds of injuries, including those associated with back or neck pain. Use a towel between the ice and skin thin enough for the cold to penetrate and enough to prevent frostbite. Place the ice on for twenty minutes then off for at least twenty minutes.
Ice massage can provide a number of benefits, including:
- Assisting the body in minimizing tissue damage
- Mitigating muscle spasms
- Reducing or eliminating pain by numbing sore soft tissues
Ice therapy is not recommended as a form of treatment for any kinds of rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s Syndrome (a circulatory disorder of blood vessels of the extremities), colds or allergic conditions, paralysis, or areas of impaired sensation.