Misconception: Icing

Ice jumped on the scene when NFL coaches in the 1960’s utilized it for pain relief to get their players back on the field. It was readily accessible, cheap and effective without the side effects of drugs. Then came the standard mantra in sport therapy circles: Rest, ICE, compress, and elevate for injury – R.I.C.E. for short.  

One common misconception is that people think “icing promotes healing”. I think this thought has to do with the popular notice of if I am out of pain then I am better. To confirm, ice does NOT help the healing process and in fact hinders it. Yes, it numbs the pain. It also reduces lymph flow.

The lymph system is the garbage collection and elimination system of the body. It helps to deal with the elimination of inflammation produced by injury. There are NO peer-reviewed journals that show applying ice increases healing and prevents injury. Ice water baths are another story, which I’ll write about next. 

Click here for a great video from Kelly Starrett, author of The Supple Leopard. 

Cheers, 
Dr. Payne, D.C.

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