Icing injuries has been a treatment for decades… but, is it outdated?
You’ve probably heard the acronym R.I.C.E: rest, ice, compression, elevation. This is one of the first things you learn to manage injuries! But is icing all it’s cracked up to be?
Using ice has been shown to decrease inflammation & swelling in order to speed up recovery… But we now know that icing prevents your body from starting its natural healing process.
Let me explain:
The natural healing process includes swelling & inflammation, which allows an influx of cells in your body to begin to heal and repair at the site of injury. We’re often taught that inflammation is a bad thing. But at its core, inflammation is an important part of healing!
So does icing hinder the natural inflammatory healing process?
Short answer: Yes.
Should you be icing?
Short answer: Probably not.
Even the researcher who invented the R.I.C.E. protocol acknowledges that he was WRONG about saying icing is the best answer for injuries. This makes sense, especially since icing usually includes complete rest + immobilisation, which has been shown to slow the recovery process.
If we’re not supposed to ice, what the heck should we do instead?
You gotta move!
I know it’s counterintuitive, but more and more research is coming out showing how important movement is. Now we know that movement is a good way to PROMOTE healing, not delay it! No icing required.
If that sounds all well and good, but you’re still in pain and not sure what to do, we encourage you to book a physiotherapy session. Let’s get you out of fear and back to moving & healing ASAP!