Cryotherapy is the use of low temperatures in medical therapy. For orthopaedic surgery this is basically icing an injury. Cryotherapy has been shown to decrease pain, improve sleep and decrease the need for pain medications. Cryotherapy has been shown to be very helpful following shoulder surgery, but also is applicable to other injuries to muscles, tendons and joints as well as following most orthopaedic surgeries.
There are many different methods for cryotherapy. This can be as simple as putting a bag of ice on the injured area to as complex as using state of the art cold therapy compression devices such as the VascuTherm device. The VascuTherm cold therapy unit is excellent, but is also expensive. Health insurance generally does not pay for cold therapy. We have arrangements in place to provide rental of the VascuTherm cold therapy unit.
Other, less expensive cold therapy devices include: Bregg Polar Care Cube Cold Therapy Unit, DonJoy Iceman Cold Therapy Unit. We can also arrange for these devices if requested.
Homemade Ice Packs
-Use only under the direction of a licensed health care practitioner. Instructions regarding the frequency and duration of cold application and breaks, how and when to inspect the skin, and total length of treatment must be obtained from your licensed health care practitioner.
-1 gallon sized Ziploc freezer bags
-16oz bottle of isopropyl alcohol
1-Mix 16oz of isopropyl alcohol and 32oz of water together in the 1 gallon Ziploc Freezer bag.
2-Remove all excess air from the bag and seal it.
3-Fold the Ziploc bag on itself and place the filled bag into an additional Ziploc bag so that the sealed ends are on opposite ends.
4-Place bag in freezer. The Homemade Ice Pack will freeze into a slush, allowing it to be molded to the injured body part.
5-Warning!! Homemade Ice Packs are much colder than plain ice. NEVER apply the Homemade Ice Pack directly to the skin. ALWAYS place ice packs in a pillowcase or towel before placing it against the skin. Homemade Ice Packs can be cold enough to seriously injure the skin
6-Homemade Ice Packs may be applied for 10-20 minutes at a time every 1-3 hours.
8-Inspect the skin under the Homemade Ice Pack at least every 10 minutes. Stop using and contact your health care provider immediately if you experience any adverse reactions, such as: increased pain, burning, increased swelling, itching, blisters, increased redness, discoloration, welts, other changes in skin appearance, or any other reaction.
9-Homemade Ice Packs are reusable. Simply replace it in the freezer after each use.
Warning any type of cryotherapy can be cold enough to seriously injure the skin. When using any type of cold therapy, inspect the skin at least every 10 minutes. Stop using and contact your health care provider immediately if you experience any adverse reactions, such as: increased pain, burning, increased swelling, itching, blisters, increased redness, discoloration, welts, other changes in skin appearance, or any other reaction.