A natural response to trauma, the inflammatory response is the body’s attempt to splint and protect the damaged area. This helps to prevent further immediate injury and jumpstarts the healing process. Unfortunately the inflammatory response is often more enthusiastic than necessary. The often excessive swelling can actually cause more damage if left unchecked. Ice is a powerful agent in managing the inflammatory process. The application of cold causes narrowing of the blood vessels, slows or stops bleeding and prevents an excess of painful swelling.
Ice application is best for:
*managing post-workout inflammation/soreness
Safety Tips for ice application:
-set a timer for 15-20 minutes: after about 20 minutes of ice, the blood vessels will begin to dilate. This is the nervous system attempting to protect the skin from freezing.
-do not use ice pre-workout: Studies have shown that the application of ice to joints and muscles can alter sensation and therefore the brain/body connection. If your nervous system can’t communicate with your body, you may be at risk of injury.
-protect your skin: make sure to wrap an ice pack in a towel. It will take a few moments for the cold to seep through, but don’t be impatient. Extreme cold applied directly to the skin can cause damage to skin.
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