Do I put ice or heat on it? This is definitely one of the top three questions I’ve gotten in my years of practice. Someone hurts their back lifting, say stacking fire wood, and though the body part and/or mechanism of injury may be different, the reaction is the same. They are aware that they should do something, but there is this ongoing cold/heat debate and, rightfully, confusion. The following couple blogs will help you better understand the body’s response to injury and help clear up this debate.
It’s important to ask yourself: what is actually going on inside of me that cold or heat may or may not help? The body responds to a muscle injury by producing an inflammatory response. Inflammation is a term mentioned frequently in regards to health. The inflammation I’m discussing has to do with the reaction by the muscle to injury and the body’s automatic response to try to heal/correct itself. There is a well-studied process to how inflammation works in its response to a recent muscle injury. Basically, the body is responding by directing cells to the injured area that help in the healing process. One of the phases of this process is called congestion. Whether it’s traffic congestion on a crowded city street or an injured neck muscle, too much “stuff” is trying to get into an area that isn’t big enough. On the street if there isn’t some control of the vehicles there are obvious problems. The same for your muscles and the problem is called swelling.
We’ll talk about the control mechanism for your body’s congestion next time.
Your local Chiropractor,
at Main St. Chiropractic
For part 2: click here
For part 3: click here