Johns Hopkins Article on Cryotherapy

Excerpts from the Johns Hopkins Medicine article,

Cryotherapy (Cold Therapy) for Pain Management (1)


When used to treat injuries at home, cryotherapy refers to cold therapy with ice or gel packs that are usually kept in the freezer until needed. These remain one of the simplest, time-tested remedies for managing pain and swelling.

Cryotherapy is the "I" component of R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). This is a treatment recommended for the home care of many injuries, particularly ones caused by sports.

Cryotherapy for pain relief may be used for runner's knee, tendonitis, sprains, arthritis pain, swelling after a hip or knee replacement, to treat pain or swelling under a cast or a splint, and lower back pain.

The benefits of applying ice include: lowering your skin temperature, reducing nerve activity, reducing pain and swelling.

Experts believe that cryotherapy can reduce swelling, which is tied to pain. It may also reduce sensitivity to pain. Cryotherapy may be particularly effective when you are managing pain with swelling, especially around a joint or tendon.

  • Putting ice or frozen items directly on your skin can ease pain, but it also can damage your skin. It's best to wrap the cold object in a thin towel to protect your skin from the direct cold, especially if you are using gel packs from the freezer.
  • Apply the ice or gel pack for brief periods – about 10 to 20 minutes – several times a day. Check your skin often for sensation while using cryotherapy. This will help make sure you aren't damaging the tissues. Stop applying ice if you lose feeling on the skin where you are applying it.


Note the two cautions above: 

  1. Putting ice directly on your skin can be dangerous.
  2. Completely numbing your skin is also dangerous.

Wrapping Frog-Skin™ BEFORE applying ice or gel packs reduces both of these risks.  Much better than a towel, the controlled skin temperature prevents cold injury while preventing CBAN (cold, burning, aching and numbness).  Avoiding the numbness means that the therapy can proceed uninterrupted for extended periods.

Of course, Frog-Skin™ also provides compression therapy, an added bonus that speeds healing.


Always use Frog-Skin™ before ice, and Leap Back Into the Game!



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