Happy summer! We wait all year for these sunny days with long daylight hours. Keep enjoying the HOT weather folks!

This month I want to talk about “Ice therapy” or in medical terms, it is called “cryotherapy.”  You can’t have pain without inflammation. Ice numbs the pain and “shrinks” the inflammation.  It is the natural alternative to Ibuprofen.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is similar to infection. In both, we are dealing with an area of the body that is warm to the touch, red, swollen and painful. The only difference is that infection has a bacterial component called pus, inflammation does not.

Inflammation is the result of an area in your body that is in distress. For example, too much constant pressure on your low back from sitting all day at your desk. Quick, sudden trauma such as a fall, or slow repetitive trauma such as bending over to pick something up, over and over again. Inflammation creates pain, and pain is the body’s way of protecting you, by letting you know something is wrong. It also stops you from moving, so you don’t get hurt further.

Icing is a “spot treatment” only to be used on the area of concern. Taking an ice cold shower is not the same effect.

So, HOW do you ice?

Let’s use your low back in this example. Say you’re “sore” from sitting all day at your desk. Whenever icing, ALWAYS use an ice pack that is SOFT when frozen. Never use the rock hard ones that belong in coolers. If you ever need a good one, we sell them here at our office for $10.

  1. Lay the ice pack on a blanket on the floor, or on your bed. Never on the couch, couches are not designed to be supportive and you’ll just sink into it.
  2. Take 2 warm/damp paper towels with all the water squeezed out, and lay them ON TOP of the ice pack. They make contact with your skin, not the ice pack. Otherwise you’re just freezing the skin, the towels allow the cold to penetrate to the muscles.
  3. Now lay on your back, on top of the towels. Wherever the soreness is, let it be “front row and center” on the ice.
  4. Have something under your knees so they are bent. Ex. Pillow, foam roller or rolled up blanket under knees, or even feet up on a chair. This takes pressure off your low back. It also flattens your back, so there is more contact between you and the ice.

Contraindications to using Ice:

Open wounds. Skin damage. History of frostbite. Raynaud’s disease. Blood pressure problems involving vasoconstriction.

Indications to using Ice:

Reduced pain. Reduced swelling. Numbs the pain naturally. Natural anti-inflammatory treatment.

Ice is a great way to manage pain. You’re not going to feel better, until the inflammation is down and the pain is reduced. This therapy is a very beneficial addition to your treatment during the healing process.

It’s just one of many treatments that we can incorporate on your road to recovery here with us, at Performance Health Center.

For more information, please contact me at:  drel-turkmani@performancehealthcenter.com