To Ice or Not to Ice: Best Injury Healing Practices

You’ve probably heard your entire life that when you get hurt you need to apply ice. As a kid you probably grew up having an ice pack thrown at you every time you were injured. The truth, however, moving forward is that icing an injury may do more harm than good. Though it depends upon the nature of the injury, you may very well want to reconsider this old adage and help the healing process along.

When you apply ice it slows or stops blood flow to that area. The thinking was always that icing the injury helped to keep inflammation from occurring, but it may actually cause worse damage than the benefits associated with reducing swelling. If you are icing it and cutting back on or cutting off the blood flow then you are also cutting off the natural way that your body heals as well.

Ice May Actually Work Against You In The Long Run

If you immediately turn to ice for an injury it can actually delay the healing process. It may cause fatigue, additional pain, and may keep the blood from coming to the area that is in need of the healing in the first place. You need blood flow to get the injured areas to heal on their own, and you are slowing that down to a screeching halt when you ice it immediately.

This blows out of the water the old adage of ice and rest – and should cause athletes to consider other options. If ice doesn’t work then what does? Sure, you may need to rest the area a bit, but you also don’t want to keep it completely immobile. Be mindful of the pressure you put on it or the way in which you use the injured area, but be sure that you do move about.

Work With The Injury and You Will Heal Much Faster

Icing a Sprained Ankle You may find that a better option than icing an injury is to use compression. Putting pressure on that area may help it to heal, to keep proper blood flow, and enables healing to happen more efficiently. Ice may have a place for a bump or bruise to help ensure that swelling is kept down, but for most injuries that adults or athletes may suffer, icing may work against you.

If you are dealing with a muscular injury or anything of that nature then stay away from icing even if that goes against everything you have learned. Apply pressure and compression to the area and rest it a bit, but save the ice for your water and learn better and new habits to promote healing properly.

-The Alternative Daily


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