Photo: Breg Polar Care Cube with pad
Cold has been shown to reduce swelling and pain and aid in healing following muscle injuries and certain kinds of surgeries. Many doctors recommend ice packs or even bags of frozen vegetables. The problem with these is that they do not deliver a consistent and reliable temperature for very long. They start very cold (too cold) and immediately begin warming up.
Cold therapy units consist of a water/ice container, a water pump, hose and pad which is applied to a body area. They are designed to deliver cold at a precise 50-55 degree temperature. They are far superior to an ice pack or bag of frozen peas.
Cold therapy units are FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration) regulated medical devices that are usually used at the direction of a medical professional. As with most FDA regulated medical devices, improper use can cause harm and injury.
In the case of cold therapy units, the harm can come from overuse which can cause frostbite. Temperature doesn't need to be freezing (32 degrees or lower) to cause frostbite. The cold-generating device just needs to be in contact with the skin for too long.
- The patient must never sleep withe machine operational.
- The pad must never contact the skin directly; there should always be a barrier in between the pad and the skin. It can be a dish towel, T-shirt or one of the specially designed insulation barriers.
- The patient must follow the doctor's instructions.