Don’t Ice Injuries or Swelling

Compress, rest, move as much as possible without agitating, and let the healing happen on its own instead.

Brilliant Friends,

I picked up a lot of good input during my friend’s bachelor trip last weekend. We dudes spent some time in our packed little hotel room doing MWOD’s and various torture techniques to get ourselves more mobile.

An unintended result of this was the surfacing of common problems we all experience. Particularly, I think many guys and gals suffer from pain of old injuries, bad habits of the postmodern life including diet and physical restrictions, and just bad information.

Chronic pain is something we sort of push down into our subconscious, not talking about it or directly trying to get rid of it, once we’ve determined that it’s pointless.

We all know that when you get a sprain, bruise, or other injury, the best treatment is RICE: rest, ice, compress, elevate. Right?
No! As Kelly Starrett points out here (http://www.mobilitywod.com/2012/08/people-weve-got-to-stop-icing-we-were-wrong-sooo-wrong/), the component of icing an injury or swelling is faulty. To make a long story short, here are the basic points to note:
  • Ice delays healing
  • Inflammation of injuries occurs to speed up delivery of healing blood and lymph components to the site – this is one type of inflammation that you actually want to have
  • Icing swollen tissue can cause tissue death if prolonged
  • Use ice sparingly for injuries only for pain management
  • Same goes for pills used to treat pain by minimizing inflammation – corticosteroids, ibuprofen, etc. do more harm that healing.
What to do instead?
Methods:
  • Stop the training if you’re injured. Get out of the gym.
  • Wrap up the injured location with a bandage or long sock or stocking
  • Or use compression pants or socks (I have not tried this but have heard multiple people say it works, including Kelly Starrett)
  • Without agitating the injury, keep blood flowing and stay mobile with as much movement as possible.

Nutrition:

  • Collagen (building blocks of tendons and ligaments, which make up your joints)
  • Vitamin C (allows you to utilize collagen in tissue formation)
  • Vitamin D3 (moderates inflammation)
  • Cinnamon for reducing inflammation (if it gets really bad)

I realize not icing may be hard to swallow. It was a horse pill for me, at first. It works, though.

If you want more reason to throw icing out of your toolkit, read this one-pager (http://drmirkin.com/fitness/why-ice-delays-recovery.html) from the very man himself, Gabe Mirkin. He is the author of the 1978 book titled Sportsmedicine Book, the classic that dictated icing for injuries. He humbly acknowledges that newer research shows that icing to reduce injury delays healing, and suggests not to ice. Instead, do the things mentioned above.

To powerful living!
Steve

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