Ice Therapy

Chiropractor Rockville, MD

In many cases, temporary pain and even additional injury can be minimized and even avoided by a simple application of ice. Ice, applied in a timely manner and in an appropriate way, can reduce inflammation. Inflammation left unchecked can sometimes cause more damage the surrounding structures and can increase the pain in the injured area. This increase in pain is related to increased pressure on nerves from swelling due to higher blood flow to the area.

Ice causes the veins in the affected tissue area to constrict. This reduces the flow of blood while acting as kind of anesthetic to numb the pain. But when the ice is removed (and this is key), the veins compensate by expanding, which then allows a large volume of blood to rush to the affected area. The blood brings with it important chemicals that aid in the healing process.

Back and neck injuries frequently involve muscle sprains and strained ligaments, which can spasm and become inflamed. But it is important to know when to use ice or heat in these cases. If the injury is acute or just happened then usually ice is the best option, but if it has been an ongoing injury or chronic then heat therapy is probably a better choice.  It is important to consult with your doctor on which type of thermal therapy you should be doing if you are unsure.

Ice massage can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Assisting the body in minimizing tissue damage
  • Mitigating muscle spasms
  • Reducing or eliminating pain by numbing sore soft tissues

When Not to Use Ice

Ice therapy is not recommended as a form of treatment for any kinds of rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud's Syndrome (a circulatory disorder of blood vessels of the extremities), colds or allergic conditions, paralysis, or areas of impaired sensation. If used in these cases it can actually cause damage and more injury. It is important to consult with your doctor on which type of thermal therapy you should be doing if you are unsure and to get their suggestions on times to be using such thearpy.