Using Ice For Neck Pain Relief
Ice therapy should be used in most cases where there is an acute injury such as; Contusion: which is a bruise without a break in the skin usually caused by a hard blow to a muscle. Strain: which is a tear of a muscle due to overloading forces which can be caused by the sudden contraction when sneezing. Sprain: which is an injury to the ligament of a joint which is forced beyond it’s normal range of motion such as in a whiplash type neck injury.
To use ice therapy on the neck, an ice bag or a gel pack is available in most drug stores. You can even use a bag of frozen vegetables! Wrap in a towel and apply to the area for 15-20 minutes. If you do not feel comfortable with this method, our neck roll pillow and headache pillow provides a comfortable and easy to use solution as the ice pack fits inside the pillow and you can place it behind your neck, recline and relax.
Another method of applying ice therapy to the neck is an ice massage. Freeze water in a foam or paper cup and tear off the top and rub the ice directly on the neck. Do not hold the ice in any one spot for more than 3 minutes. An ice massager is available to make this procedure easier and it can be kept frozen out of a freezer for 10 hours.
From the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Volume 33, Issue 3, Pages 212-219 (March 2010) “The use of ice or cryotherapy in the management of sport injuries is widely accepted in clinical practice. A number of physiologic benefits of ice have been proposed including peripheral cooling of superficial tissues, a reduction of the inflammatory response, pain reduction, reduction of edema formation, and decrease in secondary hypoxic cell death. Ice massage is an effective and an inexpensive modality resulting in cooling of superficial and deep tissues in a relatively short application period when compared with other methods. Ice massage has been shown to be effective for reducing labor pain, decreasing pain and improving function in knee osteoarthritis patients, and reducing neuropathic pain.” The study from this article found that ice massage reduced pain and muscle spasm associated with exercise.
The article continues, “Other local mechanism may be a decrease of free radical release from exercise-related muscle exercise, as the application of ice is usually used to recover performance from exercise-induced heat stress. Finally, a recent study has demonstrated that the application of ice significantly increased the muscle fiber conduction velocity of the quadriceps muscle after the induction of arthrogenic pain. Hence, it is also possible that nerve conduction velocity has been altered by ice massage. Both local and central mechanisms can be involved in sensory and motor effects of ice massage.” Additionally, “… ice massage appears to be more effective in reducing intramuscular temperature as compared with an ice bag.”
You should not use ice/cold applications if you; have circulation problems, cannot feel or respond to cold, are allergic to cold, or wake up with a stiff neck. When using ice is a problem, some of our herbs for pain products can provide a nice solution.
If you need assistance or have questions regarding ice for neck pain relief, please feel free to contact Neck Solutions.