We have all heard at some point in our life that Ice is a good thing for us following an injury, frequently we are told R.I.C.E which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. But have you ever wondered why it works when we are experiencing pain is and what some of the positive benefits are?
First we should start with when is it appropriate to use? In the office my typical recommendation for utilization of ice is with an older more chronic injury. Typically with these types of injuries our bodies have had a prolonged period of inflammation. Our body needs inflammation to heal properly, however when out of control it can lead to more issues in the involved tissue. For these reasons it is important with more chronic injuries that we utilize ice to help decrease the inflammation present so that the body can heal.
Why Do You Use Ice to Help with Injuries?
The primary reason why we utilize ice is that it is cold. This cold has several positive effects on the body and the inflamed tissues that we want to help. First off, it helps to cool down the tissue which has a mild analgesic ( numbing) effect on the area, if we are currently experiencing pain in the involved area this is a helpful way to manage that pain. Second is it slows down blood flow and through that the inflammation in the involved tissues. As stated this is only helpful if the tissue has too much inflammation and it needs to be decreased.
Here are some helpful tips for applying ice and things to look for. If ever you feel that ice is insufficient for your problems and you need help give us a call at (573) 250-7427!
Our typical treatment time for ice is a maximum of 20 minute ON, followed by a minimum of 20 minutes OFF
- Option 1 — Traditional:
Use a Ziploc bag with ice cubes or crushed ice. Add a little water to the ice bag so it will conform to your body.
- Option 2 — Best:
Keep paper cups filled with water in your freezer. Peel the top of the cup away and massage the ice-cup over the injury in a circular pattern allowing the ice to melt away.
- Option 3 — Creative:
Use a bag of frozen peas or corn from the frozen goods section. This option provides a reusable treatment method that is also edible.
- Prevent Frostbite:
Do not allow ice to sit against the skin without a layer of protection. Either continually move the ice (see “ice massage”) or use a thin towel between the ice and skin.