CPR First Aid

Benefits of Ice for Injury Recovery

Ice is one of the most well-known and commonly used treatments for injuries. You might see athletes or people with sprains or bruises using it on their injuries, but do you know why it’s such an effective treatment? Ice can help reduce the swelling and inflammation associated with many types of injuries. It can also help numb the pain. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefits of ice for injury recovery and how to use it safely and effectively when treating an injury.

History of Icing Therapy

The history of icing for injuries dates back to the early 20th century. In the early 1900s, a doctor named Hippocrates suggested that wounds should be cooled with snow or cold water to help reduce swelling. This method was later popularised by a German doctor named Ferdinand Sauerbruch, who is credited with inventing the modern ice pack. Sauerbruch’s ice packs were filled with a mixture of snow and salt, which he believed helped to speed up the healing process.

Ice therapy became widely used in the 1970s after a study conducted by Dr. Gabe Mirkin showed that it could help reduce swelling and pain after surgery. Since then, icing has been used to treat a variety of injuries, including sprains, strains, and bruises.

While there is some evidence to suggest that icing can help reduce swelling and pain, it is important to note that it should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment.

Icing injuries began in 20th century. Hippocrates suggested cooling wounds with snow. Ferdinand Sauerbruch popularized modern ice pack.

Icing Injuries in Australia

Icing injuries are also popular in Southport QLD, particularly among athletes and sports enthusiasts. The benefits of icing are well-documented, and there is a growing body of evidence to support the use of icing in the treatment of injuries.

If your workplace requires emergency response staff for injuries, you may be interested in furthering your knowledge and skills with Southport first aid. CPR First Aid (RTO 21903) offers nationally accredited and compliant first aid courses for both first-time participants and renewals.

Benefits of Ice for Injury Recovery

Injuries are an unfortunate part of life. Whether it’s a sprain, strain, or fracture, the healing process can be long and arduous. Many people wonder if ice is beneficial for injury recovery. We’ve listed several reasons why ice can be useful.

  • Ice helps to reduce inflammation and swelling.
  • Numbs the area, which can help to reduce pain.
  • Constricts blood vessels, which can help to reduce bleeding and bruising.
  • Prevents or minimises tissue damage.
  • Helps speed up the healing process.
  • Can be used as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Simple and inexpensive treatment that can be done at home.
  • Safe and generally well-tolerated.
  • Can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as heat or physical therapy.
  • Effective treatment for a wide variety of injuries, including sprains, strains, contusions, and fractures.

When to Ice an Injury?

Most people ice an injury as soon as it happens. This is not always the best course of action, however. It is recommended to ice an injury during these situations:

  • When the pain is at its worst
  • After you finish exercising or participating in a physical activity
  • When you feel like the pain is starting to improve but is still present
  • If you feel like the injury is starting to swell
  • Before bed to help reduce pain and swelling overnight

Icing an injury for too long can actually make the pain and swelling worse. So be sure to only ice for 20-30 minutes at a time. You can ice several times throughout the day as needed.

What happens if you ice for more than 20 minutes?

If you ice for more than 20 minutes, your body will begin to rewarm itself and the ice will become less effective. You may also experience some numbness and tingling as the blood vessels constrict. Be sure to remove the ice before this happens.

It is best to consult a doctor if you’ve iced an injury and don’t see any improvement in pain or swelling after 48 hours. You may need further medical treatment.

When NOT to Ice an Injury?

There are a few circumstances in which you shouldn’t apply ice to an injury, including:

Avoid icing injuries if: allergic to cold, frostbite risk, impaired sensation, or vascular issues.

The skin is broken or there is an open wound.

Applying ice can worsen an injury if the skin is already broken or there is an open wound. Ice can cause tissue damage and increase swelling, which can delay healing. It can also increase the risk of infection.

The individual has diabetes or poor circulation.

For those who have diabetes or poor circulation, applying ice to an injury might not be the best course of action. First, ice can cause further damage to already fragile blood vessels.

Second, the cold temperature can cause numbing and tingling sensations in the extremities, which can make it difficult to detect new injuries.

Finally, the process of rewarming the tissue after icing can cause additional stress on the circulatory system. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, it is best to consult with a medical professional before applying ice to an injury.

The affected person is allergic to cold therapy

If you have an allergy to cold therapy, applying ice to your injury may not be the best idea. Ice can cause a number of reactions, including hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. If you have any sort of reaction to cold therapy, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Always get medical advice from a professional if you are unsure about whether to ice an injury.

Risks of Not Icing an Injury

There are a few risks associated with not icing an injury, the most serious being further damage to the tissue. Ice application to an injury can help to reduce swelling and inflammation. This, in turn, helps to prevent additional damage to the area. The healing process might be slowed down by not icing an injury.

Another risk of not icing an injury is that you may experience more pain. Ice works as a local anaesthetic and pain reliever. Without ice, you may be in more discomfort.

Lastly, not icing an injury can lead to stiffness. When you ice an injury, it helps to loosen up the muscles and joints. This can help to prevent stiffness from setting in.

How to Make an Ice Pack for Injuries?

If you have an injury that requires ice, you can make your own ice pack at home with just a few simple materials. You will need:

  • One cup of water
  • Two cups of rubbing alcohol
  • A sealable freezer bag
  • A towel or cloth

Simply combine the water and rubbing alcohol in the freezer bag, seal it tightly, and then wrap the towel or cloth around it. Place the ice pack on your injury for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day as needed.

If you don’t have to rub alcohol, you can use vinegar instead. Just mix one cup of water with one cup of vinegar, and follow the same instructions.

For a more elaborate ice pack, you can fill a balloon with water and freeze it.

DIY ice pack: Mix water & alcohol in bag, seal, wrap in cloth. Apply 20 mins, repeat as needed.

How to make a rice sock ice pack for cold therapy?

Pour one cup of rice into the sock, and tie a knot at the top to secure it. Run the sock under cold water for a few minutes to wet it thoroughly. Squeeze out any excess water, and then place the sock in the freezer for about an hour.

Once the rice sock is frozen, you can apply it to any area of your body that is experiencing pain or swelling. Leave the ice pack on for about 15-20 minutes at a time, and repeat as needed throughout the day.


Ice can help an injury heal faster and with less pain and discomfort. Though it may not be essential for healing, applying ice to your injury can make it feel better.

If you are looking to renew your CPR and first aid certification at Cnr Ferry Rd and, Cotlew St E, Southport 4215, reach out to CPR First Aid and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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