Posted on August 22 2023
Using Cryokinetics to minimize pain, increase R.O.M. using an ActiveWrap ice wrap
When a muscle is in a shortened state it can loop/repeat to influence nerves in the affected area and go into a painful contraction or spasm. This uncomfortable pain cycle can be broken with the use of an ice compression wrap and gentle range of motion. We use cold application in the physical therapy clinic to help reform the muscle to a more natural resting state without causing more pain, in order to avoid increased spasm.
Compression helps to control the swelling while providing pressure over the muscle or tendon. Typically we wrap ( a swollen knee for example) from below the joint to above the joint in a spiral fashion and elevate the limb. The application should be comfortable. The ActiveWrap line of ice wraps are equipped with soft flexible ice packs that also act as pressure pads inside the wrap. Using this in combination of the generous strapping that comes with the wrap allows you to spiral the pressure as needed while maintaining full comfort.
Now when we talk comfort we must first understand the stages of ice/cold application. There are 4 main stages:
Stage 1: Cold (burrrrr)- This is the initial feeling of the ice wrap application
Stage 2: Aching- This occurs after 3-5 minutes
Stage 3: Warming Sensation- This is after 5 minutes but should not be sharp or extreme burning.
Stage 4: Numbness- This could be around 7 -15 minutes.
At Stage 4 we are now ready to incorporate some functional range of motion while wearing the ActiveWrap Knee Ice Support. The goal is to increase real-life tolerance and reduce symptoms. Your physical therapist can assist you with these R.O.M. exercises within normal limitations of your injury. All motions should be pain-free while executing. Some examples of functional movements might be during knee rehabilitation, using your ActiveWrap Knee Wrap while conducting sheet slides in a long sitting position to increase knee flexion. Or perhaps you are rehabilitating a grade 2 ankle sprain, you can conduct gentle ankle pumps while wearing the ActiveWrap foot and ankle wrap. Those are just two very basic examples of cryokinetic options using an ice wrap and functional range of motion for quicker return to activity.
Remember that the application of cold can be used anytime to reduce pain or discomfort as long as you do not have any contraindications or intolerance to ice or cold therapy (consult your MD). We do not recommend prolonged use of cold to thin tissue areas of the body for prolonged time. This includes the inner elbow and behind the knee. Yes you heard correctly, 360 degree ice coverage of the knee is unnecessary. If you experience severe discomfort and sharp pain with the use of cold therapy discontinue use. Re-apply with increase barrier between skin and ice packs.