What Is The Purpose Of Ice For Injuries?
Most people have heard that ice is the best treatment immediately after an injury takes place. Few take the time to wonder why this is so and what can ice do to minimize the trauma and the associated pain.
Ice can be used to minimize the swelling and pain in nearly every case of injury or trauma. Athletes are especially familiar with its properties, since most of them are constantly suffering from some sort of injury.
How do you use ice for injuries? What is the best strategy and should you avoid this type of treatment in specific situations?
How to use ice for injuries?
Applying an ice pack should take shortly after the trauma or injury. It can prevent swelling and desensitize the spot, thus minimizing pain.
The direct application of ice cubes is not advisable. It can cause frost bite. Place the ice in a cotton or a plastic bag before applying to the skin.
Have an ice pack positioned over the affected region. As soon as the place feels numb and too cold, move the pack to another spot. Another great idea that medics recommend is elevating the affected limb. Having the injured spot above the position of the body will minimize blood flow and the swelling that will take place otherwise.
Take a short break. Keeping ice on the injured spot for too long can rarely do any good. As soon as you start feeling pain and heat in the injured spot, apply ice once again.
Icing is especially suitable in the case of injuries of tendons and soft tissues. Whenever tissues tear apart, a hemorrhage takes place. Pain and inflammation will follow. Ice minimizes the chance of both.
Remember that icing will be efficient only if you are resting. Moving around, walking or practicing any sport can deteriorate the condition of the damaged tissue. Try to keep the region cold and immobile.
Once you are done with applying ice, use an elastic bandage to tighten the affected region. You will further minimize the swelling this way. A bandage that is too tight or too loosened can cause harm so it will be best to have a professional performing the procedure.
Some medical research shows that applying ice over an injured spot can slow down the healing process.
For the first time, medics discovered a hormone that injured tissues produce. This hormone is responsible for the healing of the torn tissue.
The study was published in the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology Journal. This research confirms that the inflammation following an injury plays an important part in the healing process.
Cells of the injured tissue produce the so called insulin-like growth factor 1 or IGF-1. IGF-1 significantly speeds up muscle regeneration. Ice interferes with the functioning of IGF-1 and the development of the inflammation, thus slowing down the healing.