On Ice . . .
One of the simplest, safest and most effective self care techniques for injuries or painful musculoskeletal conditions is ice. It is used initially for First Aid and at later stages for the rehabilitation of injuries or chronic problems.
Ice initially constricts local blood vessels and decreases tissue temperature. It then dilates deep tissue vessels and increases tissue temperature. These two responses alternate and are called the Hurting Response. The effects of this response are to decrease swelling, tissue damage, blood clot formation, inflammation, muscle spasm and pain; and to increase circulation, stimulation and strength. It also promotes healing by speeding nutrients to the area while removing waste.
Since the damage caused by uncontrolled swelling is often as great or greater than that of the initial injury, and because healing time increases in direct proportion to the amount of swelling, it is very important to use ice immediately after an injury.
R. I. C. E. for First Aid
- Rest the injury
- Ice the injury
- Compress the injury with an ace bandage
- Elevate the injury above your heart
- Ice Massage: Freeze water in a styrofoam cup. Tear edges exposing the ice but leaving cup to hold onto. Using a gentle, continuous, circular motion and rub ice over the problem area for 5 - 10 minutes
- Ice Bath: This is ideal for hands and/or feet. Immerse affected part in a bucket of water, then add ice. Immersion should be for 5 - 10 minutes, 20 minutes maximum.
- Ice Pack: Put crused ice in a plastic bag and cover with a towel. Place over part to be treated. Use for 15 - 30 minutes.
During treatment with ice you will feel the following stages:
CAUTION: STOP as soon as numbness is achieved. Maximum ice time is 20-30 minutes at a sitting. Ice therapy is very safe when used within the treatment time recommendations. It is NOT recommended:
- in rheumatoid conditions
- in Reynaud's disease
- with cold allergic people
- in paralysis or areas of impaired sensation
- directly over superficial nerve