​Cold Therapy FAQs

Posted by Source Ortho on 7th May 2021

​Cold Therapy FAQs

We're Answering Your Top Cold Therapy Questions

The use of Cold Therapy Machines is becoming increasingly more popular as a method of recovery from injury or surgery. Many patients will be prescribed to use a cold therapy unit post surgery or injury to aid in the healing process.

A lot of what we sell at Source Ortho is based around cold therapy. We carry the industry's leading brands for cold therapy including Breg, Ossur, Game Ready, Aircast, and Donjoy.

We speak to customers every day who are curious about how cold therapy works and if it is right for them. We have compiled the most popular questions we receive into this blog post to hopefully provide helpful answers to all of your cold therapy questions.

How Does A Cold Therapy Machine Work?

A cold therapy machine works by circulating ice cold water from the cooler through to a pad. The pad fills up with the cold water to deliver targeted cold therapy to the area of treatment. Cold therapy units work to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation to ultimate reduce recovery times and improve healing after surgery or injury.

To use your unit, simply fill it up with ice to the fill line, then top with cold water. Attach the pad to the designated area of treatment. Once the pad is securely attached, plug the unit in to begin therapy.

You should always make sure to have a barrier between your skin and the pad. Many brands offer single use barriers, however a t-shirt, pants, of thin towel will work just fine.

Is a Cold Therapy Unit Really Better Than an Ice Pack?

While the use of an ice pack can have similar benefits, a cold therapy unit will provide a higher quality treatment for a few reasons:

  • More effective. Features different pad options to fit specific areas of the body, allowing for more effective treatment.
  • Stays colder longer. While a cold pack may only provide an up to an hour or two of cold therapy, a cold therapy unit can offer up to 10 hours depending on the unit.
  • Offers compression. Depending on which unit you purchase, it will offer some level of either passive or active compression to enhance healing effects to improve recovery times.
  • More comfortable. Since the pad is not frozen like an ice pack and is made to fit the specific area of treatment, it allows for a more comfortable fit for use during extended periods of time.

Which Cold Therapy Unit is Right For Me?

Each type of cold therapy unit comes with designated pads to fit specific areas of the body. Some units offer a type of pad in multiple sizes while some may only have pads in standard one-size-fits-all options. Over time, we have learned which unit offers the best options for each area of the body. To determine which cold therapy unit is right for you, read our full guide here.

Can I Use and Pad with Any Unit?

Most cold therapy machines have designated pads to go with each unit. While some brands have universal pads that will fit with any unit from the brand, many do not. All of our cold therapy units come with an option to bundle the machine with a compatible pad.

We do also sell all our pads separately should you already have a unit. If you are unsure which pad is compatible with your unit, our customer service team is happy to help! Call, email, or chat us!

How Long Should I Use My Cold Therapy Unit After Injury or Surgery?

To determine if cold therapy is right for you and how long you need to use your cold therapy unit after surgery or injury, you should consult a medical professional to see what they recommend for you.

How Much Ice Should I Put in the Unit?

Each cold therapy unit will have a designated fill line inside of the cooler. Fill the cooler with ice up to that line and then top with water (cold water works best). If you do not have access to that much ice, you can also use frozen water bottles - just make sure to remove any stickers or labels from the bottles as they can clog the unit.

How Long Can I Use My Machine For?

Different units offer different run times. Most units offer cold therapy for up to 4-8 hours. However, our cold therapy unit with the longest run time is the Breg Kodiak that offers up to 8-10 hours of cold therapy.

Do I Need To Keep My Unit Elevated?

Yes, even though most units are motorized, it is best to keep them at level with the area you are treating to ensure you do not overwork the motor. This will not only improve your treatment, but also help extend the life of your cold therapy machine.

Does My Health Insurance Cover the Cost of My Unit?

While some providers may cover the cost of your unit if it has been prescribed by a doctor, many will not. We recommend contacting your provider to see if they are able to cover the cost for you. At Source Ortho, we do not accept or bill insurance. However, you can ask your insurance provider if they will reimburse you post purchase. You can also purchase your cold therapy machine with HSA or FSA.

If you still have questions, we have many resources on our website to help you find the answers you need! Read through our helpful list of Cold Therapy Hacks here. Curious which cold therapy unit is right for you? Find out here.

We hope all of the resources are helpful to you! Should you still have any questions, our helpful and knowledgeable customer service team is ready to get you the answers you’re looking for. You email us at, call 866-425-3209, or start a chat with us right here on the webpage.