Now the real debate begins, when do you ice a soft tissue (muscle) injury. The advice I give based on my knowledge of the science and my observation of my patient pool (going back 30+ years), it’s seldom too late to begin application of ice to an injured area. My rationale for the benefits of ice therapy even several weeks post injury is this: until ice therapy is started, the inflammatory process is proceeding unchecked. Swelling is taking place, adding to tissue damage and contributing to a cycle of additional swelling. If abnormal joint movement is part of the injury (which is what I see in most cases), this further compounds the problem. Think of It this way, each action of the injured muscle returns the injured site to an acute stage with just about every movement.
Here’s a good rule of thumb I tell people to follow when they question the use of heat or ice on an injury: in most cases when applying ice to an injury the worst outcome you can have is nothing. Heat, on the other hand, can cause additional swelling, leading to greater injury. I’ve had remarkable outcomes in patient's eyes after only one treatment, and basically all I did was tell them to stop using the heating pad and apply ice to the injury. Apply ice for 10 minutes at a time at an interval of every couple of hours until you can get to a health professional for more specific advice about your particular concern.
Your local Chiropractor,
at Main St. Chiropractic
For part 1: click here
For part 2: click here