Ice and cold applications can be used to reduce the swelling of muscle strain. This is not only a great process to make the inflammation process faster, but can also reduce the amount of pain you feel in the area. If you do not own an ice pack, it is easy to make one by putting some ice cubes and a little water in a sealable plastic bag. You can also make your own ice pack, by mixing 1 cup of rubbing alcohol with 3 cups of water; mix well and place in the freezer, or a frozen bag of peas does the trick as well. Remember, you should not apply ice directly to the skin for long periods of time because it could damage the surface of your skin. So make sure that you always wrap your ice pack in a towel before, or make sure that an article of clothing is between the ice and your skin. Inflammation during a muscle strain is a natural, normal process (that just so happens to be incredibly painful). Applying cold temperatures reduces swelling and pain by constricting the blood vessels and slowing down the flow of blood to the damaged area. Never apply ice to an area where you already have circulation problems, and try not to apply ice longer than 20 minutes.