Ice Pack

The Ice Pack


from Hydrothermic Remedies...

"An ice pack is used where a large, continuous, and very cold application is desired." Physical Therapy in Nursing Care, p. 88.

:The application of cold will prevent much swelling and will lessen black-and-blue discoloration, which is due to rupturing of the blood vessels." Hydrotherapy in the Home, p. 34.



A local application of cold over a covered body segment.

Physiologic Effects

  1. Contraction of blood vessels slows down the oozing of blood into injured tissues; prevents oedema.
  2. Slows local metabolism and inflammation
  3. Relieves pain
  4. Deep penetration of cold since thermal convection by circulating blood is much deeper.


  1. To prevent Bruises and swelling when tissue has been injured in Sprains and Contusions
  2. Acute Bursitis
  3. Acute Joint Inflammation of Rheumatic Fever, Rheumatoid Arthritis and acute Infectious Arthritis
  4. Back Pain and Neck Pain


  1. Cuts or wounds
  2. Chronic conditions (only use in acute phases)
  3. Patients who cannot tolerate cold
  4. Poor local circulation such as peripheral vascular disease or severe diabetes


  1. White heavy wool flannel (preferably stitched around the edge); a piece at least 30x30cm for the shoulder or knee and 22x20cm for ankle and elbow.
  2. 1 or 2 Turkish Towels
  3. Safety pins
  4. Plastic - 1 or 2 pieces
  5. Finely crushed ice and snow


Important Considerations

  • Observe reaction of the skin to avoid tissue injury.
  • Apply pack for specified time, no more than 30 minutes at intervals of 2-4 hours as prescribed.
  • Make sure the rest of the body stays comfortably warm.
  • Do not let wetness penetrate to the skin.

Preparation for Treatment

  • Explain purpose of cold application for condition treated
  • Spread Turkish towel out on a flat surface; over the towel spread finely crushed ice to make a layer 2-3cm thick; fold towel and pin together securely. Make pack large enough to cover area to be treated.


  • Place flannel over part to be treated
  • Apply pack over flannel-covered area, then cover with plastic and a Turkish towel or bandage to hold in place.
  • Use another piece of plastic or a piece of rubber sheeting to protect the bedding.
  • Continue application 30 minutes.

Completion of Treatment

  • Remove pack, dry the area carefully and observe reaction.
  • Cover or bandage area to avoid chilling the patient.
  • Chart treatment, duration and reaction.