When to use ice                                                                                                      

Ice should be used as an adjunct to a program of chiropractic care. Ice can be used on areas where there is inflammation, such as after sprains or strains. Any area of recent injury or where there is swelling and increased temperature may respond well to an ice pack. An ice pack will not affect most medications or other treatments that you are having and is completely safe if the instructions are followed. It is a simple and non-invasive way of slowing down inflammation and may bring relief.

When not to use ice

Ice should not be used on any open wound, any area of acute dermatitis, or on the front of neck or groin. It should not be used on any area that is NUMB or has decreased feeling. It should not be used by any person susceptible to being burnt by ice or unduly sensitive skin. It should not be used when you are cold or when you have just finished vigorous exercise. Allow your body to come to a normal temperature before using ice.


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Positioning ice pack

Generally you should make yourself as comfortable as possible. The first mentioned position is the one I feel is the best but others are also good. In general it is good to have the affected area elevated.

*For the middle and lower back..

1) Sitting in a Chair with the ICE pack in behind you over the inflamed area. Try to be upright and get the pack in the middle, whilst not leaning forward.

2) Lying on your front with a couple of pillows under your middle so your pelvis and legs are slightly bent.

This should be comfortable, so you may apply the ice to affected area.

3) Lying on your back with a couple of pillows under your knees, in this position you must lie on the ice pack. Be careful to keep your hips and pelvis level and not to let the pack tilt or twist your spine. (not the best way but sometimes the only way!)

4) In a recovery type position (on your side, painful side up, top leg bent up perhaps with a cushion underneath it). Lay the pack over the area of pain.

*For the neck and shoulders..

Be careful not to let the pack rest on the front of your neck.

1) Sitting down with the ice pack draped over the shoulder.

2) Lying face up with the ice pack underneath you, here again you must be careful not let the pack twist your spine by raising one shoulder.

3) Lying face down with the pack on the affected area. Try not to let lying on your front twist or bend back your neck.

4) Lying on the non painful side with the pack on the affected area.

*For feet and ankles..

1) Lying on the floor with your foot on a chair so that your hips and knees are at right angles. The pack is then draped over the foot or ankle.

2) Sitting on a chair with your foot up on a stool. The pack is draped over the foot or ankle.

Please contact your chiropractor if you are unsure or have any problems using the ice pack.           Harmony Chiropractic & Craniosacral Clinic – 01986 784712

How to use an ice pack

From room temperature, the ice pack takes about 2 hours in the freezer before it is ready to use. Whenever the pack is not being used it should stay in the freezer ready for the next application.

The ice pack should be applied to the area of inflammation through a thin towel like a tea towel and not directly to the skin.

 How long to keep the ice pack on for

 In chronic cases or if the pain is not too severe

10 minutes ON

1 hour off

 In acute cases (extreme pain)

10 minutes ON

10 minutes OFF (something warm on – warm water bottle or hand)

10 minutes ON

90 minutes OFF (ice pack back in freezer)

Don’t leave the ice on for too long, it is counter productive. Leave at least 90 minutes in between each 30 minutes icing session and 1 hour between 10 minute sessions.

If you are in severe pain then icing after each meal and before bed is a good idea. If you can only ice once per day then BEFORE BED is the most important time.

What should you feel

The ice will feel cold initially then after a minute or two the area will feel numb and cold together, this feeling will continue until the ten minutes is up.

How many days

Usually for acute problems between three and seven days of using ice packs is sufficient. Longer periods may be required for chronic situations. It is a good idea to take a few days to wean yourself off using ice. Do this by first decreasing the number of applications per day until you are down to just the one before bed and then skip a day to see how your body reacts.

Please contact your chiropractor if you are unsure or have any problems using the ice pack.