Best Instant Cold Packs, Gel Packs, and Clay Packs 2020

By Colleen Burnett

reusable cold packsUsing cold packs is one of the most basic methods for comforting an injured back. The idea is to keep the spine in neutral and reduce the pressure on the nerves in the lower back, reducing the chances of further damage.

You should avoid lifting heavy objects or exercises when recovering from such injury. In some cases, a trip to the gym can be necessary for the back to get adjusted to its normal position. All too often, people suffer from low back pain in the initial stages of their treatment.

When recovering from long term injuries, doctors may recommend the use of warm packs for short periods of time. The purpose is to add extra support to the affected areas, to reduce swelling and to ease the pain.

When using a pack to carry them, try to select one that fits comfortably and is easy to carry. Some types of cold packs are constructed to be worn for extended periods of time. They are usually of leather or plastic and are designed to last for several hours.

It is wise to use a reusable cold packs that has been specifically designed for carrying by the back or legs. One of the most common types of cold packs is a rigid foam type. The stiffness of these packs makes it more comfortable to wear.

When shopping for a cold pack for use, be sure to purchase one that provides full support and is large enough to provide the desired amount of pressure. Some packs are designed for carrying to the shoulders and others are designed for carrying to the lower back.

The straps should be made from a soft packing material so that they are easier to work with. It is not necessary to use straps with each cold pack you use. Using them on the non-loaded sides is sufficient.

You will also need to make sure that you carry your pack when you do exercises. Some models are built to be used as back and leg packs. If you decide to use a backpack during the initial phases of your recovery, it is best to get one that includes a built in waist belt.

The pack that you choose should also be durable and easy to clean. To assist in their care, there are many brands that sell packs for dogs that are easy to wash. They can be cleaned by rubbing them down with a mild detergent, preferably one that is recommended for canine use.

Some people prefer to wear their packs under clothing. This can help to alleviate discomfort. You should be aware that even in this scenario, they should still be made of a soft material so that they are not irritating to the skin.

Cold packs are not only for the treatment of back problems. They can be used to reduce inflammation and improve circulation when being treated for many other conditions as well. An example of this is arthritis.

Since so many conditions can benefit from the use of a cold pack, there is no reason to avoid the device if you have any back pain at all. Just like other therapy items, you should choose one that is designed for your particular condition.

Hot and cold therapy has come a long, long way.

From the frozen peas and hot water bottles of the past, we now have instant cold packs, gel packs, and clay packs to alleviate folks from pain, stiff muscle groups, and swelling.

The query is, which popular and cold gadget is the greatest for you personally?

In this post, we breakdown the professionals and downsides of instant cold packs, gel packs and clay packs to help you choose the best product to suit your needs.

Instant Cool Packs 2020


  • Doesn’t need to end up being refrigerated
  • Easy to activate. Simply fold and shake the pack to activate its contents
  • Ideal for medical and crisis treatment while on the field
  • Light-weight and easily transportable
  • Obtainable in different sizes


  • Non-reusable. Instant cool packs are best for single only use
  • Can only just be utilized for cool counseling
  • Stays cool for a shorter time period in comparison to gel or clay packs

Best Utilized For:

  • Emergencies whilst travelling (minimal bumps and bruises while camping, backpacking, or while on a street trip)
  • Sports accidents


  • Activate the cooling agent by striking and shaking the moment cool pack. Make certain the elements mix thoroughly to achieve best results.
  • Wrap the cold pack in a small towel or cloth before applying to the influenced area. Do not apply directly to the skin to avoid ice burns.
  • Do not apply for longer than 15 – 20 moments.

Instant cold packs are a great addition to every first aid kit and emergency bag. These nifty little packs don’t need a fridge to get chilly— you can store them at room temperature and simply activate its contents when you need them. Once it’s cold, you can then apply the instant chilly pack to the influenced area to get pain relief and reduce possible swelling, even when you’re outside.

But just how do instant frosty packs function?

Heading from room temperatures to nearly freezing in simply matter of seconds appears like a magic technique, nevertheless, you it’s really more of a chemical reaction than anything else.

Instant chilly packs are actually made up of two hand bags inside. One bag contains water, while the additional keeps a chemical like calcium ammonium nitrate. When you shake or hit the pack, the internal bags break, causing the two substances to mix. This prospects to an endothermic reaction which in turn causes the pack to carefully turn cold for a few minutes.

This chemical response makes instant frosty packs very helpful when you’re outside and also have no method to getting ice to take care of a sprain, bruise or also an insect bite. These packs can stay frosty for approximately 15 – 20 a few minutes — that’s plenty of time for a person to get emergency treatment for common aches and pains.

The downside to instant cold packs is definitely that they’re not the most versatile items out there. As their name suggests, these packs can only be used for chilly therapy, and not the other way around. They’re also single-use packs, so once the chemical reaction is done, you have to dispose of the packs properly. You can’t refreeze or reuse them after that.

How Do You Dispose Of Instant Cold Packs Safely?

Once activated, the instant cold pack can be disposed of safely in your trash. Avoid puncturing the bag— although the activated contents are considered non-toxic, you still don’t want to clean up that mess.

Overall, instant cold packs are great for emergency situations and medical. They’re not really the best choices for long-term alleviation, but if you want a cool compress fast— the product is your very best bet.

Gel Packs


  • Reusable
  • Fairly cheap and accessible
  • May be used for both chilly and hot reasons
  • Will come in many shapes and sizes depending on the body part


  • Needs to be put in a freezer or microwave to obtain the right temperature

Best Used For:

  • Long-term home treatment of both acute injuries and chronic conditions


  • For cool therapy, place the gel pack in your freezer for at least two hours. Make certain they lie smooth in order that it could mold onto the afflicted region better.
  • For popular therapy, place the gel pack in the microwave. The heating system duration usually depends upon how big is the gel pack. Smaller sized gel packs just take 10 mere seconds to temperature up, while larger types take about 40 seconds. Gradually temperature the bigger packs (10 to 15-second length, with a couple of seconds among) in order to avoid overheating.
  • Usually do not apply popular or cool packs directly on your skin. Make use of a barrier just like a towel or fabric before using the gel packs to avoid possible skin damage caused by extreme temperatures.
  • Apply the gel packs onto the affected area for about 15 – 20 minutes. Usually do not apply for a lot more than the recommended length. Permit the skin to come back to its regular temperatures before reapplying the scorching or cool pack.
It’s secure to state that gel packs have got changed frozen peas and warm water bottles with regards to scorching and cool therapy. These packs are produced from an assortment of drinking water and other nontoxic chemicals that help keep up with the pack’s regularity and temperatures for a long period.

Gel packs also make use of heavy-duty, puncture-proof plastic-type material to avoid leakage due to extreme temperature ranges and trauma.

What models gel packs apart is the fact that they’re very versatile. Unlike instant cold packs, gel packs can be used multiple occasions for both warm and cold therapy purposes. If you’re suffering from a long-standing condition like arthritis and have to alternate scorching and frosty treatment method regularly, that can be done so with simply a couple of gel packs.

These helpful products are also available in various forms and sizes— an individual gel pack can currently focus on multiple areas of the body. This can save lots of money over time.

Other items, like ActiveWrap, also make use of gel packs within their compression wraps to focus on specific areas of the body just like the knee or shoulder. The compression wrap continues the gel pack set up without restricting your flexibility, enabling you to heal quicker.

Because you will have to freeze or warmth gel packs to achieve the desired heat, they’re clearly not the best home remedies for emergencies on the field. They are, however, very useful if you’re recovering from surgery or if you need relief from chronic or recurring pain conditions like stiff muscle tissue and joint pain.

Caring For Your Gel Packs

Gel packs are very easy to maintain. When looked after properly, they are able to last quite a long time.
If you’re generally with them for frosty therapy, ensure that you lay them toned in your fridge therefore they stay pliant once you’re prepared to utilize them.

You can merely clean them with drinking water and gentle soap after make use of. Wipe them dried out before placing them back the fridge or medication cabinet. Usually do not drop or overheat your gel packs in order to avoid punctures.

Clay Packs


  • Uses organic ceramic clay and nontoxic oils
  • Remains hot or frosty for an extended time period in comparison to gel packs
  • Yields an increased therapeutic impact by staying in place and molding onto the hurt body part
  • Doesn’t freeze solid; it remains pliant even when it’s very cold


  • Takes longer to freeze or warmth (usually 4 hours in the freezer and 60- 90 mere seconds in the microwave)
  • Heavier than instant chilly packs or gel packs
  • May dry out when overheated or placed in direct warmth or sunlight

Best Used For

  • Long-term home treatment of both severe injuries and persistent conditions


  • For cool therapy, place the clay pack smooth in your freezer for four hours. Although clay packs don’t freeze solid even though they’re positioned in the freezer, laying them smooth enables the pack to mold onto the afflicted region better.
  • For popular therapy, place the clay pack in the microwave for about 60 seconds to warm it up. Turn the pack and continue heating for 20-second durations until you achieve the desired temperature. Take care not to overheat the clay pack.
  • Do not apply hot or cold clay packs directly onto your skin. Make use of a barrier just like a towel or personalized fabric cover before using the clay packs in order to avoid feasible skin damage due to extreme temps.
  • Apply the clay pack onto the afflicted region for approximately 15 – 20 mins. Do not apply for more than the recommended duration.

People have been using clay for its therapeutic effects for centuries. Traditional medicine practitioners believe that when applied to the skin, medicinal clay can draw out harmful toxins and harmful chemicals from the body.

Today, clay is used as the main component in many hot and cold packs. While gel packs use water and nontoxic substances, clay packs use a mix of ceramic clay and non-toxic oils. These unique elements allow clay packs to keep their temperature ranges for a lttle bit longer, marketing a gradual and prolonged curing effect.

Among the best reasons for having clay packs is certainly they can mold onto the wounded body part very well. If you’re with them for cool therapy, clay packs be capable of stay pliant even though they’re really cool. Given that they don’t freeze solid, clay packs could be molded to focus on hard-to-reach areas and deliver its therapeutic results while keeping its temperatures.

When used for scorching therapy, clay packs be capable of absorb and release heat for an extended period of time. This allows the heat to penetrate deeper into those stiff muscles and joints, promoting comfort and faster healing.

Perhaps the only downside to clay packs is usually their weight and bulk. They are relatively heavier than gel packs and instant frosty packs. Since they’re denser, in addition they take a little additional time to freeze or high temperature in comparison to gel packs. For evaluation, regular clay packs usually take at least 4 hours to freeze, while gel packs only take about half that time. When used for warm therapy, clay packs need to be preheated for 60 seconds in the microwave before turning and heating again in 20-second durations until the right heat is achieved.

If you’re keen on getting your own clay packs, make sure to get at least two. One clay pack can stay in the freezer for chilly remedy so you don’t have to wait for hours for it to freeze. The other clay pack can be stored in room heat as a backup for when you need a warm pack.


Looking after your clay packs is certainly a breeze. After using the clay packs, merely clean them clean with a damp fabric and gentle soap. Clean them dry, place them in a plastic material handbag and pop them back the freezer for potential use.

If you’re making make use of your clay packs for scorching therapy, be mindful not to overheat your packs. Placing them in direct heat or sunlight can cause the clay to dry up. Store it in an awesome, dry place, away from immediate light and high temperature.

When To Use Incredibly hot or Frosty Therapy

Given that you understand the difference between quick frosty packs, gel packs and clay packs, it’s period to obtain the low-down on incredibly hot and frosty treatment method itself. When perform you utilize your ice packs? What forms of circumstances are required to have a warm compress rather?

Understanding when to make use of hot and frosty treatment method is essential— in the event that you apply an incredibly hot or frosty pack to the incorrect kind of injury, it could possibly worsen the condition and prolong your recovery period instead.

Equip yourself with the right information. Here’s a quick guide to help you use your sizzling and chilly packs properly:

Chilly Therapy

Picture spraining your ankle or taking a poor fall while playing sports. When you get hurt like this, your brain signals your body to flood the influenced area with red blood cells and plasma so that they can neutralize the risk and bring stuff back again to normal. That is known as the inflammatory response. It really is component of your body’s organic healing up process, but can be truly unpleasant. You’ll observe that the wounded area can look reddish colored and bruised. It will become warm and tender to touch.

To reduce inflammation, you’ll desire to employ a cold compress or ice pack. The cool will constrict your arteries and curb the blood circulation cellular material to the region, slowing the inflammatory procedure subsequently.

That said, you need to use cool therapy.

  • Soon after a personal injury or severe trauma like bumps, slips, and sprains
  • When there is swelling present. Look out for the five main signs of swelling. They are inflammation, pain, warmth, tenderness, and loss of function
  • Immediately after strenuous activities like workouts, ball games, and contact sports to lessen the pain and swelling
  • After a surgical procedure

Hot Therapy

If cold packs cause your blood vessels to constrict, hot packs do the opposite. They dilate your blood vessels so more blood can pass through. This allows your muscle groups to relax and take it easy.

Popular counseling is best used for pains and aches which have been there for some time, like stiff joints or “knotted” muscle groups.

You may also use popular therapy.

  • When there is no swelling or swelling
  • For recurring or chronic circumstances like muscle tissue cramps, period cramps, and stiff joints

When IS IT POSSIBLE TO NOT Use Popular or Cool Therapy

Medical ailments like diabetes and Buerger’s disease can impair the person’s capability to feel feeling, especially on the extremities. In such cases, hot and cold therapy can be risky. Hypertensive patients (people with high blood pressure) may experience adverse effects as well. If you’re suffering from conditions that impair your sensory abilities or if you are hypertensive, please consult with your physician first before applying hot or cold therapy.

Final Thoughts

If you’re still using bags of ice, frozen peas or water bottles for your hot and cold counseling requirements, you’re plainly really missing out. It’s period to obtain with this program and begin your healing trip with contemporary ice, gel and clay packs.

The products may appear basic, but don’t neglect: they’re particularly developed by the best physiotherapy experts to promote efficient healing. Ice, gel and clay packs are backed by studies to make them both ergonomic and useful. A few of them are found in conjunction with compression wraps to focus on specific areas of the body. Other items, like ProIce, make use of a patented window-type cryoblanket to make sure that it gives constant temperature for quicker healing.

Instant ice packs, gel packs and clay packs may have their subtle differences, but one thing is for sure: you need them for warm and chilly therapy. Weigh out each product’s pros and cons and observe which one would best fit your needs. If you can’t select just one, no issue! You can generally obtain all three and observe how they perform for yourself.