Updated: June 4, 2015
Cold Pack Reviews:Find Relief with the Best Cold Packs - Do you ever have those days when you feel like you're falling apart? Something twinges, something aches, and something else just plain hurts. Some of the aches and pains of the day can be worked out as we get moving, but others linger. This is especially true if you have an injury. Ice is the first thing physical therapists or trainers reach for when an athlete gets hurt: ice is tremendously helpful because it reduces inflammation, which in turn reduces pain. When do you apply a cold pack? Should you be using a hot pack instead? What are the best choices for cold therapy? This guide will help answer your questions, and, hopefully, relieve some of those aches and pains.
When to Use Cold PacksHot and cold: these polar opposites are both very useful in treating injuries, but it is essential that you know when it is appropriate to use cold packs and when you should turn up the heat. Physical therapists recommend that in the first 48 to 72 hours after an injury, you use ice packs. Whether you've sprained an ankle or strained your back, you are going to be swollen during that time period. Cold packs decrease that swelling, which also has the benefit of relieving pain. Cold packs, then, are used during the first 2 to 3 days after an acute injury. If you use heat packs during this time, you can worsen the swelling - and yes, that does increase pain, too. Heat packs should be used only for chronic (or on-going) injuries because it relaxes muscles and loosen tissues. When applying cold packs, make sure to ice your injury for no more than 20 minutes at a time. It is possible to get frostbite! You don't want to add that to your list of injuries!
What to Look for in a Cold PackYou can take the words "ice pack" literally and plop some ice in a plastic baggie. This does work, it is ice after all, but it can be difficult to get the ice pack to conform to your injury and surround it with cold. In a pinch, you can even use a bag of frozen peas or corn. This works even a little better than ice cubes because it's more malleable. But the best choice is a gel pack. These are convenient because you can just store them very easily in your freezer and take them out as needed. Some models can also be microwaved for use as a heat pack, making them even more useful to have around. A great benefit is that you can conform to your injury. Yet one more advantage is that you can use and reuse them over and over again. Here are some things to consider before you buy:
*Size. If you frequently hurt your back, you'll likely want a larger cold pack that can offer enough relief. If you just want to have a cold pack in the freezer for first aid use, a smaller, more compact one is perfectly sufficient.
*Location. If you tend to have similar acute injuries (like your bum knee acting up), you may want a cold pack that is designed specifically for use in that area. A specialty hot/cold pack neck pillow can be great for those with neck injuries. Think about what you'll most likely need. If in doubt, get a specialty one and a smaller one to pop in the freezer. If you have kids running around, that certainly won't go to waste.
*Price. These are definitely a worthwhile investment, but keep your budget in mind. You can find great quality cold packs in your price range.
You can browse the best selling cold wraps and patches here.