Should You Ice Your Injury?
Cryotherapy, or icing injuries of all types, is a common practice. You will find ice packs as a staple modality in many health clinics around the world, but using an ice pack on your injuries does not have much scientific backing to support its use. Here is a breakdown of the issue and why you shouldn’t always use ice on your injuries.
Research: Localized inflammation after an acute injury is your body’s way of repairing and healing the area. Prolonged use of ice to an area alters blood flow and disrupts the body’s chemical healing process. The latest research shows that icing injuries does not improve outcomes, and for acute injuries it can impair healing.
In Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM): Ice is hardly (if at all) mentioned as a healing modality in this ancient healthcare system. Cold is considered one of the “Six Excesses” (along with damp, summer-heat, fire, wind, and dryness), which can cause disease. For cases of acute injury (often diagnosed in TCM as qi & blood Stagnation) practitioners use a reducing method to remove stagnation and help restore the body resistance. Never was ice mentioned as a form of treatment.
How Ice May Help: A few minutes of ice applied to an area of pain may reduce pain.
What to do with an acute injury:
- Only use ice sparingly to help reduce pain.
- If excess swelling happens, use body movements and light exercise to pump the buildup out of the area. This is important for healthy injury recovery.
- Prolonged or excess swelling can become a concern. See your doctor if this occurs.
- Chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, light massage, Kinesiology tape, and analgesic rubs such as Biofreeze may be able to help reduce pain and speed up the healing process.
- Chiropractic care, acupuncture, exercise, and diet may also help prevent injuries.
Other Health Topics:
Remember that this information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.
Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion
The Foundations of Chinese Medicine