After a full day of hiking and lugging my “I swear to God it weighs a ton” backpack, I was ready to collapse on my bed at home and give my aching shoulders a break. I don’t care that my significant other called me a wimp. I swear my shoulders are on fire.
I doubt I’m the first one to be in this situation. Shoulders tend to be one of the more abused parts of the human body. Anyone can have problems with it, especially since using them too much causes soft tissue to break down. The breaking down also gets faster as one gets older.
Simple manual labor or playing sports can cause problems. Some also experience pain linked to diseases of the gallbladder, liver, heart or the spine.
Luckily for me, and anyone like me, there are a variety of products that can help alleviate the pain.
Ice packs for shoulders come in many sizes, shapes and brands. Here are some of the best shoulder ice pack to choose from.
Ratings from Amazon
McDavid Thermal Shoulder Wrap – Leave the peas in the fridge!
When I checked for a shoulder wrap online, McDavid is the first one to catch my eye. Their thermal shoulder wrap has 2 variants –the one with the hot/cold gel pack and the one with just a gel pack. Seeing as I wasn’t sure if I needed a hot pack or a cold pack, I got the one that allows for both.
The wrap is made of neoprene (latex-free, as the package quickly points out.) It also came with 2 reusable hot-cold gel packs.
The shoulder support is outstanding and I must say this is quite easy to put on. Guess there won’t be a need to raid the fridge for a bag of frozen peas now!
Mueller Reusable Therapy Wrap – Long cold release
I must admit, the first time I saw a picture of Mueller’s reusable therapy wrap, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. (See picture above.)
It’s supposedly a “multipurpose” cold/hot therapy wrap. I guess that’s the detachable extension strap in the picture. The one that’s supposed to secure it in place.
It’s actually easier to assemble and figure out once you have the real thing in front of you, though. But I found it a little hard to put on. The Velcro also had a tendency to slide off. It’s a shame because it actually releases the cold from the pack for a long time and that’s one thing I really loved about it.
Pro Ice Cold Therapy Wrap – Full coverage
The product description says it’s a “premier cold therapy product” with “veltex coverage from midpoint of scapula including rotator cuff, upper arm and elbow.” In short words, it covers your shoulders all the way down to just below your elbow. Actually, since it also says “one size fits all,” it should go all the way to your wrist almost if you’re a kid.
This may be a little too excessive if you just have minor shoulder pain, but I’m thinking this is a good product for athletes like pitchers. It’s a well-constructed product that should give you ice pack goodness for 20 minutes or so.
Elasto-Gel Shoulder Ice Pack – Leak free
(Check out my review of the Elasto Ice pack here)
This is another product that looks weird on the picture but is pretty neat when actually worn.
The therapy will last about half an hour on average per application. The material is Lycra so it conforms to the body well, remaining flexible even at low temperatures. It also has the added feature of not leaking even when punctured.
Aircast Cryo/Cuff System
(Check out my review on Cryo-cuff system)
There aren’t many shoulder ice pack wraps that can do what Aircast can. That is simultaneously offer cold and compression to minimize swelling and pain. It comes in several varieties: system/shoulder, hand/wrist, elbow, back/hip, calf, thigh, knee (large and medium), foot, and ankle. It’s a little pricey for home use, but hospitals apparently love to use it in the ER.
Be aware though. This product comes with a cooler. That’s rarely shown on the pictures. But in order for this product to provide near constant cooling for hours, it needs that cooler to store the water. You might need to physically elevate and lower that same cooler every hour or so.
Having a sore shoulder is painful and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are many options in the shoulder ice pack department to get me back into “backpack-toting” shape.