As we mentioned in one of our previous posts, The Benefits of Heat and Cold Therapy For Pain, cold therapy is often used to reduce swelling and inflammation which normally occurs when you experience a new injury. Cold therapy products range from cheap cold compresses to more expensive commercial cold therapy wraps. Which one should you use? That all depends on the type of injury or pain you are suffering with.
Why Cold Therapy?
When you injure yourself, your body will naturally attempt to heal itself by rushing more blood to the affected area, which causes swelling and inflammation. You can usually tell that a joint is inflammed because it usually comes with the followimg symptoms:
- Swelling in the affected area
- Joint stiffness and pain
- In some cases, a loss of function in the joint
A popular, and effective way to treat inflammation is to ice the affected area. Doing this reduces the blood flow to the injured area, which has the effect of reducing inflammation and swelling, but it also numbs the nerve endings which can significantly reduce the amount of pain you feel. As we mentioned above, there are several ways to apply cold therapy, from using a bag of frozen peas, to more expensive options like commercial cold wraps. The reason we prefer cold compresses versus a homemade bag of ice (or bag of frozen food) is that they make it much easier and cleaner to apply ice to your body. Not only that, the added compression that most cold compresses give you provides extra assistance in keeping the swelling at a minimum.
Although there are many reasons why you may want (or need) to go for the more expensive options, the purpose of today’s article is to cover cheap cold compresses that work well and won’t blow your budget. By cheap, we don’t mean that they are not high quality, we are simply talking about price. In the next section, we are going to cover 3 low-cost and effective products that are a must-have for your home first aid kit.
Cheap Cold Compresses That Work
1. The Coldest Ice Pack
The Coldest sells an ice pack that is reusable and perfect for cold therapy (and hot therapy if needed). Store the packs in the freezer and you can pull them out for cold therapy whenever you need them. The added bonus is that you can also microwave the same packs for 30 seconds if you want to switch to hot therapy. They are extremely comfortable and its multi-purpose design is good for athletes and other high performers. Great for back pain and leg pain (ankles, calves, knees, etc.).
- Larger surface area means you can target larger areas of the body, such as your hamstrings/thighs, back and more. It is flexible, so it molds to your body very easily. Some cold compresses really only deliver coldness to one small area, with most of the actual cold dissipating too fast to make a real difference. This ice pack itself is flexible and evenly distributes the cold.
- The straps help keep the wrap in place securely and exactly where you want it. You can place it overtop of your clothes or underneath. It all depends on your preference and sensitivity to cold. Having straps to hold it in place means you get better recovery as well, since it generally doesn’t fall off or move around, which means more consistent therapy in the affected area.
TheraPAQ is a reusable gel ice pack that is another great option for pain relief and recovery, especially around the hip, shoulder, knee, or on the back.
- Use it hot or cold. You can put the gel back in the freezer for cold compresses, or heat it in the microwave for hot therapy. This gives you the chance to treat torn muscles, inflammation, or anything in between.
- Get back to a full range of motion whether you are an athlete or just someone with a busy schedule. You can wrap your body with this compression pack and help with the swelling that comes after surgery, or whether you are dealing with muscle pain.
- Can be used for many purposes. The high quality construction and size means you can wrap it around any part of the body as necessary, including your ankles, shins, calves, knees, shoulders, hip, or back.
- The carefully designed wrap means it won’t feel too tight or uncomfortable.
Similar to the one above, Koo-Care offers a large, flexible wrap which is versatile and hands-free. Reusable, the wrap itself is made with a soft nylon material.
- There is a nylon ice pack, wrap, and extension band that make it easy for you to wrap it around any surface area, large or small. The cold compress has been approved by the FDA.
- This gel ice pack is heavy enough that it will retain the cold for longer. Don’t worry about having to change ice packs halfway through a 15 minute therapy session. The large size means it will remain cold.
- The gel design evenly distributes the cold, and it won’t clump together like actual ice does as it melts then reforms.
- With the long elastic band, it can extend over more of your body than most bands, making it the perfect fit for people with different figures.
Overall, these three cheap cold compresses have been formulated and designed to be flexible, to allow for the surface area of their gel ice packs to better mold to your body compared to older compresses. This aids in faster recovery. We push our bodies all day, from long hours on the job to injuries during sports. Athletes, engineers, high performers, and everyone in between knows that the faster recovery takes place, the more we can work and train. That is why these packs are built to expedite your recovery and get you back on the field, or in the office, or where ever you want to be. More importantly, for a modest investment, you get a cold compress that is reusable so no matter how often you injure yourself or just want to treat your body to a quick vacation, you can.
Disclaimer – I am not a doctor and I am not qualified to provide medical advice. The information above on available cheap cold compresses was posted for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice.