Know the benefits of ice packs for dark circles, headache and more!

Ice packs can be good for your skin and your health in general. Check out the benefits of ice packs, and how to use them safely.
Ice packs can be used for various health issues
Ice packs can be used for various health issues. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 30 Nov 2023, 14:08 pm IST
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Ice therapy involves the application of cold packs or ice to the body to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. It is a commonly used method in sports medicine and rehabilitation to manage injuries and aid in the recovery process. It is also a popular home remedy for minor injuries that you can get in the kitchen or your child while playing outside. Apart from these, you can also use ice for beauty purposes. Read on to find out the benefits of ice packs.

What are the benefits of ice packs?

Ice is not just for making your drink even better. There are many benefits of using ice packs or ice!

Woman using an ice pack
An ice pack has many health and beauty benefits. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

1. Pain relief

Ice packs can provide effective pain relief by numbing the affected area and reducing nerve activity. This is particularly beneficial for acute injuries such as sprains and strains, says internal medicine specialist Dr Pankaj Verma.

2. Inflammation reduction

Cold therapy helps in constricting blood vessels and decreasing blood flow to the injured or inflamed area, and this constriction can limit swelling and inflammation, promoting a faster recovery.

3. Muscle recovery

Athletes often use ice packs post-exercise to speed up muscle recovery by minimising inflammation and preventing delayed onset muscle soreness, says the expert.

4. Headache relief

Applying an ice pack to the forehead or neck can be soothing for headaches, especially tension headaches. The cold helps to constrict blood vessels in the head, providing relief.

5. Puffiness and dark circles

Placing ice or ice packs under the eyes can reduce puffiness and minimise dark circles. The cold temperature constricts blood vessels, reducing fluid build-up and enhancing the appearance of the under-eye area.

6. Fever control

Cold packs are commonly used to help to reduce fever in both children and adults. Applying them to specific areas of the body can help in lowering body temperature.

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7. Skin conditions

Ice packs can be beneficial for certain skin conditions such as sunburn or insect bites. The cold sensation helps to alleviate itching and discomfort caused by these conditions.

Woman protecting herself from the sun
An ice pack may help with sunburn. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

8. Preventing heat rash

In hot weather, ice packs can aid in preventing or alleviating heat rash by cooling the body and reducing sweat gland activity.

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How to use an ice pack?

All you have to do is put ice in a plastic bag that can be sealed. Fill partially with water, seal the bag and take out the air from it. Wrap it in a towel that is damp and then place it on the affected area. Avoid placing it directly on skin.

Who should avoid using ice packs?

While ice packs are generally safe, people with conditions such as Raynaud’s disease, cold urticaria or other cold sensitivity disorders should avoid prolonged exposure to cold, says Dr Verma. Also, people with diabetes should consult with a doctor before using ice packs.

Are there any side effects of using ice packs?

Excessive use of ice packs or applying them directly to the skin for extended periods can lead to frostbite or cold burns. It’s crucial to use a cloth or towel as a barrier and limit the application time to avoid adverse effects. People with conditions like nerve damage should also exercise caution with cold therapy.

Ice packs vs warm compress for pain

There is always a debate on cold and warm compress, as both can provide some relief. Ice packs are generally recommended for acute injuries, swelling and inflammation. They are effective in the first 48 hours after an injury. On the other hand, warm compresses are more suitable for chronic pain, muscle stiffness and relaxation. Heat helps to increase blood flow and can alleviate tension in muscles.

Remember that ice therapy has a range of health and beauty benefits, but it’s important to use it appropriately and be aware of potential contraindications.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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