Ice is the greatest natural treatment that we should all be using. This treatment is under utilized, overlooked and misunderstood.
If you have over used or have experienced an injury to an area of your body, you need to apply ice to the area for the first 72 hours. This is because ice decreases the inflammatory response and is a natural analgesic (pain killer).
When you strain, sprain or tear a tissue in your body you are actually rupturing minute blood vessels in that area. These blood vessels are now allowing more blood to flood the injured area. You need this to happen because your blood carries the products that make up scar tissue.
It is at this point you need to get ice on that injured area. If you do not your body will produce an over abundance of scar tissue. Too much scar tissue results in a less flexible scar. In the future as forces are placed on the scar with different levels of activity (running, golfing, working, etc…) it will be easier for the scar to be re-injured and the process to start all over again.
This is how a minor case of tendonitis or a sprained ankle can turn into a serious chronic problem. Ice reduces the overall amount of scar tissue laid down because it constricts the blood vessels.
Ice baths, packs and showers are all used by athletes. Do not think your body is any different than theirs. Start using ice after playing tennis or golf on your elbows. Maybe your activity is running or squash. If it is, make sure to ice any sore or overused areas.
We have one body. Treat it like the precious item it is. Remember Ice is nice.
Ice 10 minutes on, 5 minutes off.
Use Ice packs, Ice water baths, and chemical liquid ice packs
Note: Chemical liquid ice packs can cool below freezing. This could freeze your tissue. Make sure they have a cover on them.
Suggested ice protocols
- Weekend Warrior golfers, skiers, hikers – Ice 1-3 times
- Mild sprained ankle, wrist, shoulder – Ice 5-10 times
- Sprained ankle, etc – Ice as often as you can for 72 hours.
Make sure that you talk to us or any other health professional if you have any questions about icing.
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