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Chiropractor in Bristol, VA

Cold Therapy

Icing Instructions for acute injury


  1. Find the center of the towel.

  2. Pick up towel by the center and pull it through the thumb and index finger (The OK sign) until 3-4 inches of the towel extends through.  

  3. Soak the tip of the towel with cold water and then squeeze out the excess water but do not wring it out.  

  4. Spread the towel on a flat surface.  You should find a round moist area in the middle of the towel.

  5. Place the ice pack over the moist area and fold the towel over the ice pack.  

  6. Apply the moist area of the ice pack over the injured area for no more than 20 minutes.  

  7. Remove the ice pack and return the ice pack to the freezer.  

  8. Wait for one hour to let the area heat back up.


Repeat the process as recommended by Dr. Morenings.  

Laying down is preferable to sitting in most cases.  For lower back injury, sometimes, doing some walking with the ice pack on will be helpful to reduce swelling in the lower back area. 

Applying ice after an injury is a common method for reducing pain and swelling. It is especially effective for athletes, who often experience sudden, painful injuries. This type of cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is used by chiropractors for the same purposes.

Types of Cold Therapy

Many types of cold therapy are available to reduce pain and swelling after an injury, including the use of:

  • Ice packs

  • Ice massage

  • Slush bucket (half water, half crushed ice)

  • Whirlpool with ice water

  • Cold wet towels


Benefits of Cold Therapy

Cold temperatures cause blood vessels to narrow, which reduces the flow of blood into an area. As a result, cold therapy:

  • Reduces swelling and pain after injury

  • Slows movement of fluid into tissues

  • Reduces the amount of chemicals that cause inflammation in injured tissue

  • Reduces bleeding

  • Slows the movement of pain signals from nerves

  • Decreases muscle spasms by reducing the contraction of muscles


Cold therapy may also keep cells in the injured area from dying due to the lack of oxygen. This is because an injury can reduce blood flow — and oxygen — to the area. However, cold therapy slows the activity of cells, which reduces how much oxygen they need to stay alive.


Tips for Best Cold Therapy

For cold therapy to work, cold packs should be applied as soon as possible. Pain and inflammation are common within 72 hours after an injury.


To avoid frostbite, cold packs should be applied for only 10 minutes at a time, with breaks of at least an hour in between. The ice can be applied several times a day, for three or four days after an injury — or as directed by your chiropractor.

Also, cold packs should never be applied directly to the skin. Instead, a towel should be placed between the skin and cold pack.

Cold therapy may not be appropriate for everyone. Some people respond to cold temperatures by breaking out in hives or developing pain in the joints.

Make an appointment to talk to our doctor about how we may be able to help you.

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