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Posted on 10-25-2016

To ICE or not to ICE... That is the question !?!?!

I am sure if you are like most, there has come a time when you asked yourself this question and you probably called upon your most trusted doctor...DR. GOOGLE.  After scrolling from one opinion to the next you probably concluded that there is probably no true answer.  

In helping my patients with this age old question I ask them - “what is our goal”, “what do we hope to achieve - short term and then long term”?

Here are some of the answers and my thoughts (case by case dependent)…

Goal 1 - Immediate Pain Relief and Swelling Reduction...

    My answer is then to ICE the area down.  This will constrict the blood vessels, stopping the increased fluid and pressure that irritates the pain sensitive fibers.

        PAIN → ICE

Goal 2 - Promote Long Term Healing…

    My answer is to NOT ICE and to NOT HEAT.  Control the swelling with light compression but allow the body to bring in fluid with all the right “players” to promote protection, repair and healing - this is what we were designed to do.

        HEALING → LEAVE IT BE

Goal 3 - Relax a tight muscle and loosen up an area before an activity...

    My answer is to do ICE/HEAT CONTRAST or HEAT.  The contrast will allow for blood vessel constriction / dilation and constriction again - which in turn will “pump” fluid out and produce a massage like effect.  Heat alone will sedate the area and bring in good blood flow and oxygen.   

        RELAX → CONTRAST or HEAT

Goal 4 - Calm down sore muscles and promote long term healing...
    My answer is to COOL the area.  This will reduce excess fluid and pressure while at the same time allowing adequate blood flow bringing in good oxygen and nutrients needed to heel.

        SOOTHE and HEAL → COOL

I will discuss my thoughts on this COOLING trend in future posts.

*Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Proper medical attention should always be sought for specific ailments. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained from this post. Any information received from this is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This is for information purposes only. The information here is not intended to replace proper medical care.

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