Ice therapy for arthritis has long been advocated by many different types of therapists but has this new type of ice therapy taken things a bit too far?
You will need to read this article from the Daily Express first (I cannot copy from a newspaper – they don’t like it which is fine) about this new ice therapy for arthritis. In it they describe a “pen” that can go down to -20C and that makes the nerve “hibernate” and so stops it transmitting pain. This treatment can be repeated when the pain returns.
Is This Ice Therapy for Arthritis a Bit Drastic?
My biggest concern is that repeated applications of this ice therapy for arthritis will do nerve damage and I talked the other day about the importance of pain. -20C is very cold and would cause very severe frost bite and tissue death. I would also have to be very sure the Doctor knew what he was doing and was experienced in using the “pen” so there was not irreparable damage done.
I was taught and still believe ice therapy should not be over used and the pack should not be left on too long. Different joints should, therefore, have ice packs applied for different lengths of time and part of the reason is that the nerve might get too cold.
Take the story of an old client of mine who fell asleep on an ice pack and became double incontinent. He went to the GP (who luckily knew me well) and said it was my fault as I told him to use ice therapy. When questioned he admitted he had been told to leave it on for 20 minutes with at least 1 hour between applications. He didn’t know how long the ice pack had been on but the peas had completely defrosted in the tea towel! The GP told him to go away and the nerves would recover- which they did, within 48 hours. Amazingly he carried on his course of treatment with me, which always surprised me.
So ice therapy used incorrectly can have serious side effects and to keep zapping the nerve with that much cold makes me….well cold!
Sign up for my free 3 day course if you want to use ice therapy for arthritis correctly. It should be used at different times to heat therapy.