Doctors often recommend ice after sprains, injuries, trauma and surgery. Why? Because ice constricts blood flow to muscles, helping to reduce bruising and swelling. Applying ice to an injury has been shown to reduce pain as well.
The most recent recommendation for cold therapy is to ice an injured part for short periods soon after the injury occurs. This recommendation is to apply ice for up to 10 minutes, remove it for 20 minutes, and repeat the 10 minute application once or twice. This is according to Dr. Gabe Mirkin, the original proponent of the R.I.C.E method for treating sports injuries.
There is also a view that cold therapy can aid in recovery and promote healing. The thought is that after a short period of cold therapy (10 minutes), letting the therapy site warm allows blood vessels to immediately expand; blood flows in, flushing the injury of expired inflammatory agents, and stimulating the healing process. Inflammation and swelling are actually an indication of the body’s healing functions, just like a fever is a sign your immune system is fighting off an illness. Icing with FIRST ICE intermittently allows the body to do its job, and reduces some of the discomfort along the way.
If you are under the care of a physician, always follow his/her recommendations. This article is based upon research available online, and is not the opinion of a medical professional. Always place a towel or cloth between the body and FIRST ICE to protect your skin, and avoid icing for extended periods.
Posted by: Sarah G.