Hot or Cold Gel Pack
These little hot and cold gel packs are amazingly useful to reduce pain, bruising and inflammation after injury. I think every household should keep a couple of them handy in the freezer or ice-box of a fridge. You never know when you might need one in a hurry and they are also very helpful during injury recovery.
Use as an ice pack in the early stages of injury to minimise pain, bleeding and tissue swelling.
Use as a hot pack in the later stages of healing to increase blood flow and promote relaxation
Cool in a freezer to use as an ice pack. Heat in hot water or microwave to use as a hot pack.
Next time you get a bruise playing sport or strain a muscle in the garden or get any sort of knock, do what the professional athletes do - grab a cold gel pack from the freezer and chill the injury. Chilling stops the pain, reduces inflammation and minimises bruising, just don't overdo it - stop when it's nearly numb and repeat the process every hour or two if you need to.
This is how I recommend you use them: put the gel pack inside a thin plastic carrier bag and then hold it on the painful area. Lift off frequently to check it is not sticking to the skin.
It is scary how quickly these things suck the heat out. Treat them with respect and don’t overdo it. Typically a few minutes treatment will be sufficient for a joint such as the knee or shoulder, less for wrist or thumb treatment, a bit more for a large area like hip or back.
Next time you go on a picnic use a couple of gel packs instead of heavy freezer blocks to keep food and drinks cool.
In the garden, a couple of gel packs wrapped around a wine bottle makes an impromptu wine chiller and a good talking point at barbecues (hold them in place with a couple of those rubber bands that the postman leaves outside your house).
The gel packs can also be used as heat packs. I gave one to a friend who is a GP, thinking that she might show it to some of her patients. She told me that her young son had found it and started using it instead of a hot-water bottle, in bed, on wintry nights.