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  • Writer's pictureJohn Gonzalez

To Ice or not to Ice?

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Physiotherapy in Halifax - ice

To ice or not to ice?

That is the question that keeps on coming up and is a bit more difficult than people realise to answer.

The traditional thinking was that after a strain or sprain, icing the area helped to reduce pain and swelling – it was thought that excessive swelling and extrastitial fluid in the area could lead to further damage and hinder recovery.

The use of ice has helped many a twisted ankle, even if it is just to relieve some of the pain.

This is a view that has stood for a long time and ice is still advocated by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines. However, the actual evidence they use to justify the use of ice is somewhat lacking.

But, was it the best thing to be doing? Current thinking believes that the use of ice and anti-inflammatories after an acute injury hinders the body’s natural healing response, which has been working well enough throughout history.

So, rather than aiding recovery – ice has been hampering recovery, leading to increased weakness in the area and increasing the chances of re-injury.

However, ice has been used for a long time and can’t be all that bad? Correct, some new studies show that ice may still have a role to play around two days after an injury – but it depends on the levels or swelling present.

Confused? Don’t be, just get in touch if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment and we’ll get you pain free and back to fitness as soon as possible.

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