There are several over-the-counter medications that can relieve swelling and inflammation and can help provide pain relief after an acute injury. These same medicines can also be useful during a flare-up of chronic pain of the joints or muscles.
However, a much faster method for pain relief that is often overlooked is ice therapy. Ice therapy works more quickly than oral medications, and it does not have side effects. Combining both might be the most effective, depending on what your doctor recommends.
As soon as ice comes into contact with the injured area, is instantly begins to numb pain and reduce swelling post injury. It is also a highly affordable method for treating the discomfort of chronic conditions such as knee arthritis or painful compression fractures of the spine.
How to Use Ice Therapy
Many weekend warriors buy a freezer pack at a local pharmacy and keep it ready to go in the event of an injury. If you don’t have a freezer pack, you can also use a package of frozen vegetables like peas or corn.
If you decide to use ice cubes, make sure there is a layer or two of protective covering between the ice and your skin. Experts advise this to ensure you don’t get frostbite, which can be even more painful than the original injury.
In general, ice therapy should start relieving pain, swelling and inflammation almost as soon as it is applied to the sore area. If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, get in touch with your doctor. He or she may want to evaluate the injury or the sore place before suggesting additional treatment.
Ice therapy has very few negative side effects. Because the ice pack tends to numb the areas it touches, however, you may notice impaired reflex activity and impaired motor function for 20 minutes to 30 minutes after you complete the treatment. Taking a half hour or more off before the next round is the correct method.
If you’re looking for fast relief of pain and swelling after an injury, or if you have chronic pain from a condition such as arthritis, an ice pack may be just what you need to get rid of annoying symptoms and get back to feeling like yourself again.