To ICE or NOT to ICE that is the question?

One of the most frequent questions we get asked at the practice apart from what is the difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor is whether it is best to apply ice or heat to an injury.

Icing is most effective in the immediate period following an injury, technically this is called cryotherapy , it is most effective in the first 48 hours. The ice can be applied as a bag of frozen peas, ice cubes in a ziplock bag or hot water bottle . Alternatively a paper cup can be placed in the freezer and taken out periodically applied with movement to the injured area as an “ice massage” (do not allow it to stay in one spot!!)

If it is possible also elevate the area.

Ice for 15-20 minutes, but never longer. You can cause further damage to the tissues, including frostbite, by icing for too long.Allow time between treatments, the are should be allowed a rest of at least 45 minutes or an hour to re-warm the tissues before beginning the icing routine again.

Repeat as desired.

Ice as frequently as you wish , feel the area affected for extra warmth, this is one of the effects of inflammation
along with redness and pain . The ice reduces warmth swelling through the reduction of blood flow that distributes inflammatory chemicals through the circulation.

Caution: You must prevent Frostbite by not allowing the ice to sit against the skin without a layer of protection. Either continually move the ice (see “ice massage”) or use a thin towel between the ice and skin.