Curious when should you ice an injury?
My answer is almost never.
I realize this goes against most mainstream ideas.
But if we take a minute to understand what’s happening on a physiological level, then we may resist the urge to reach for a pack of ice the next time an injury, or pain happens.
The purpose of ice is to reduce swelling/inflammation and pain.
So, what is inflammation?
Inflammation occurs at a damaged area in the body. It’s a completely normal and a healthy response. One that should be valued.
Swelling allows for blood and nutrients to get to the injured site and begin repairing it.
Think of it as a caravan bringing all the construction workers to the job site. The body needs to be reconstructed.
Over the years we have used ice to reduce inflammation. It can also help to temporarily reduce discomfort and pain as a result.
Don’t get me wrong…I understand why someone may want to go this route.
However, I don’t believe it to be the best alternative.
Since inflammation is the way to get construction started in the body. When a person ices when he/she feels pain or gets injured, then healing in the body will be postponed, or worse…never heal properly.
There’s no longer a job site for the construction to take place at. Therefore, no work gets done.
For years, we’ve been taught apply the RICE method (Rest, Ice Compression, Elevation). Unfortunately, I believe this to be the wrong approach.
In fact, even the man who came up with the method has since retracted it.
“It’s perfectly fine to ice if you want, but realize it’s delaying healing,” Gabe Mirkin.
Yet, even with all the evidence to the contrary, our society continues to believe ice is a healthy thing to do after injury.
So, if you shouldn’t ice an injury, what do you do instead?
The best way to support your body is to move the affected area of the body as much as possible.
Blood flows where there’s movement. And blood brings healing nutrients with it wherever it goes.
So, if you want to heal quicker/better, move!