Cold therapy with compression can be an extremely effective way to improve pain and swelling while reducing recovery times following surgery or injury. In this article, we will explain why and how cold compression therapy works, and how may benefit from it.
What is Cold Therapy?
Cold therapy or cryotherapy is a method of healing that exposes the body to cold for a couple of minutes. Cold therapy aims to help muscles recover after strenuous exercise, surgical procedure, or injury. Applying the cold to the injured areas reduces blood flow to that specific area. Reducing blood flow to injured areas helps reduce inflammation, nerve activity, and swelling; this, in turn, relieves pain in muscles, joints, and tendons. Cold therapy can be as simple as frozen vegetables or more intentional with an ice pack or a cold therapy unit.
What is Compression Therapy?
Compression therapy uses items like bandages, compression socks, stockings, or boots to apply pressure on your foot. Compression therapy has been helping for thousands of years since the Hippocrates of ancient Greece. Compression therapy immensely increases blood flow in your legs through controlled pressure, which improves blood flow to your heart.
What are the Benefits of Cold Compression Therapy?
Cold compression therapy is the best of both worlds. By combining cold therapy with compression, you can effectively speed up recovery times post-surgery or injury as well as reduce overall pain and swelling.
How Does Cold Compression Therapy Work?
Cold Compression machines work by inflating a wrap designed to fit a specific area of the body to the desired pressure, holding it for a few seconds before releasing and re-inflating. Intermittent compression is more effective than static compression simply because it moves the blood more effectively, pushing the swelling out of your system. By pushing blood throughout your body, the injured area receives more oxygen-rich blood to promote healing.
Benefits of Cold Therapy with Compression
Cold therapy has immense benefits when used alone and is even more effective when combined with compression.
These benefits include:
Improve Post-Surgery Recovery
After surgery, most doctors recommend cold therapy with compression to help reduce swelling. By reducing swelling, your body will actually be able to recover more quickly and effectively. Some studies show that managing swelling post-surgery can reduce your overall recovery time by half.
Improve Muscle Recovery After the Gym
Have you ever pushed yourself so much in the gym and needed time off to recover from the soreness and pain? If so, you don’t need to do so every time because it will waste your time, especially if you have goals to gain muscle. Using cold therapy and compression when your muscles feel sore will help you come on top by recovering quickly. This therapy will ensure you keep attending your gym sessions without taking days off. This secret is why you always see MLB pitchers with massive ice packs wrapped around areas of injury.
Soothe Injured Muscles, and Joints
Cold therapy with compression is a great way to deal with mild injuries like bruises, sprains, and other tweaks. This form of therapy can heal ankle sprains in about a week, when it usually may take up to ten days for the healing to occur. If you want quick recovery, it is best to combine these two forms of therapies.
When using cold therapy, it is best to put safety first. For example, you should always have a barrier between your skin and the pad to prevent your skin from getting burnt or possibly frostbite. Many cold therapy units offer additional skin barriers for purchase, but we have found that putting the pad on the outside of your clothing or using a thin towel will work just fine. Also, don’t apply cold therapy to the affected area for too long because it will damage your nerves which is a dire problem compared to a quick recovery.
Which Cold Compression Unit is Right For You?
Aircast IC Cryo Cuff
The Aircast Cryo Cuff Cooler uses intermittent compression for targeted cold therapy, which means you can use it for your limbs or any other body parts like shoulders and back. The cooler lid has a built-in pneumatic pump that provides cold therapy with intermittent compression. This unit is perfect for post-surgery recovery, athletic training, trauma, and home use since it has cyclical compression combined with cold therapy reducing pain and inflammation.
Shop the Aircast IC Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy Unit here.
Breg Polar Care Wave
The Breg Polar Care Wave Cold Therapy Unit combines motorized cold therapy with active compression to treat post-surgical and acute injuries to reduce edema, swelling, and pain. It allows for customized cold and compression levels to give each individual the level of treatment needed. The Breg Wave offers cold therapy pads for the knee, shoulder, ankle, and back. The Wave unit also has a standard universal pad, making it a great option for cold compression therapy almost anywhere on the body.
Shop the Breg Polar Care Wave unit here.
Game Ready GRPro 2.1
Considered to be the best in the industry, the Game Ready GRPro 2.1 unit offers a completely customizable cold compression therapy with fully adjustable temperature and compression settings, with top-of-the-line circumferential wraps. The Game Ready Ice Machine is used and trusted by medical professionals and athletes alike.
Shop the Game Ready here.
Cold and compression therapy benefits result in a quick and pleasant recovery. If you’re suffering any minor injuries or just came from surgery, you now have the solution to help optimize your recovery process.
Not looking for compression with your cold therapy? Shop all of our cold therapy units here.