Icing a Joint

My Mom and I exchange email almost every day. Yesterday I told her my knee was sore and I “iced it.” She wrote back to tell me that she had never heard of this, and wondered if it didn’t make a mess when the ice melted. I decided it might be useful to write down the steps involved in this marvelous treatment for joint pain.

The first step is to have the proper equipment. Years ago ice bags were use, which had a removable cap on top through which ice cubes were placed, after which the cap was replaced. This worked ok, except that the cubes were so big that the bag did a poor job of getting the cold on the joint. Other methods involved using plastic bags of frozen peas, which worked better but defrosted the peas.

The method I’ve used for years is a product called a “hot cold pack.” It is an inexpensive sealed plastic pouch with a gel inside that when frozen retains the cold for a half hour or so. These are purchasable in most pharmacies.

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The cold packs in the freezer

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You are cautioned not to put the cold pack right next your skin, so I use a kitchen towel. In this picture, I have everything laid out for icing my left knee.

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On the very bottom layer, I place a large handkerchief folded across the diagonal. On that I place the first cold pack. Next to my leg goes the towel. I then wrap the towel around my leg and put the second cold pack in place.

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Then I bring both ends of the handkerchief together and tie a square knot.

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I tie it tight enough so I can move around a bit if I need to without the whole thing coming apart. Then I make myself comfortable for about 20 minutes.

If the pain you are feeling in the offending joint is due to swelling, cooling it with ice may just do the trick for you. It is sure worth a try and it costs a lot less than the many drugs we’re encouraged to try.

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