The Benefits of Icing

The Benefits of Icing

Icing is important when an area is injured or if there is excess inflammation due to over usage of the muscle.  Icing should start within the first 48 to 72 hours of the symptoms. Using ice on the injured area will help reduce any internal bleeding or swelling in the area caused by physical activity. It’s also important to start as soon as possible to offset soreness, pain, swelling, redness, heat, and decrease function in the area, which is not good!

Research agrees that when applying ice to an injured area to keep it on the area for 10 to 30 minutes at a time and then leave it off for 30 to 45 minutes. After the 30-45 minutes are up and if there is still discomfort, ice can be applied for another 10 to 30 minutes. When discomfort is felt in joints from overuse or another form of injury, ice should be applied for several times for the next 48hrs.  Although icing will take longer to cool in deep tissue or deep muscle than a tendon/ligament injury  it still the best form to promote healing, the best result  would be to ice for 48 to 72 hours to see if any pain or discomfort still persists. Also if a severe bruise happens to any part of the body the bruise will benefit from icing for up to 7 days after it is injured.

Benefits of alternating hot and cold treatments

 The benefit of alternating between hot and cold is it helps improve recovery time and eliminate soreness. Contrast showers will promote blood flow and stimulate the nervous both of which influence recovery and arousal levels. With increased blood circulation in the muscles because of the contrasting temperature of the water it will cause a rise in nutrients to the area and immune cells to the area also. Another benefit of increased circulation to the muscles is it increases the excretion of cellular and metabolic waste from the muscles and body. Using contrast showers will help strengthen and normalize many functions of the body such as the endocrine, circulatory, musculoskeletal, nervous and it will help the body deal with physiological and psychological stress.  This produce also helps to fight the tightness that comes from icing along.

However, icing may not benefit everyone, it still has some potential to help ensure proper healing in the muscle and when used correctly.

Hayes, K.W. Manual for Physical Agents, 4th ed. 1993. Norwalk, CT. Appleton & Lange. Pp. ix, 169. Copyright


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