By: Dr. Carolyn McNeill
I get this question at the end of many appointments. It has been indoctrinated into many of us: the importance of icing after a strenuous workout and especially after an injury. Growing up in competitive swimming, after every workout, the swimmers would pile into the lifeguard room to grab some ice. In the clinic, where we would go for treatment, every bed had an athlete on it that was at some point in their visit there, sitting with an ice pack on whatever part of their body was causing them pain.
It seems like a simple question. Should I ice my injured _______? What I will argue today, is that ice is overused. When we injure our tissues, we get inflammation. But our bodies are not dumb. That inflammation is there for a reason. We have been trained to think that inflammation is a bad thing. But in order for repair of our tissues to occur, inflammation is necessary, and icing can actually slow down the healing process.
To touch again on my last blog, what is far more important than passively icing your injury is movement. Start moving it with intention in pain free circles. Start small. Do light muscle contractions. Walk. Get on a stationary bike and flush things out. Start the process of healing, instead of throwing an ice pack on the area and lying on the couch.
If you have any questions, or are unsure of what to do after an injury, make an appointment with one of our therapists. You call call the clinic at 613 454 1239 or book an appointment online at www.ocsiclinic.ca