Why Ice is Not Enough When Trying to Heal an Injury
The pattern is the same, and it has been this way for years. You get an injury, you go to your athletic trainer, or you go home, and you put ice on it. In your mind ice is this magic healing formula that makes all problems go away but I may have some bad news for you. It just will not cut it, and it never has. We will get into the details of this and also help you to understand what you need to do to get healthy and stay that way.
Overtime sports have developed their myths. Things like not drinking water will make you tough, or doing wind sprints makes you fit. We know now that these are 100% nonsense, but somehow people still believe it. Ice is one of those things. Ice is meant to reduce inflammation, but it does not heal injuries or make them go away faster. It can reduce pain, but that is mostly because nerve endings become temporarily numb.
Ice is the reason why you will see athletes hurt for years and years and do nothing but put ice on it after every practice. This article is not meant to crush your love affair with ice. It is intended to put it in a different light so you can do what is needed to get healthy quicker.
Ice Slows the Natural Healing Process
Your body has natural ways it goes about healing itself. When you put ice on an area, it slows this natural process down. The reason many athletes still ice and use cold baths is more for the mental benefits. Most athletes are geared to think if there is no pain there is no gain.
The pain of feeling the cold often gives athletes a thrill that something good is happening. The reality is much different from this. This does not mean that ice should never be used, it just means that it if it has a role, it merely steps one of many in the injury process.
You may need to ice a body part so that you can walk home in the decent amount of time. You may need to ice just to survive everyday life after an injury. But in the end, your body will go through a natural healing process, and ice slows it down.
Inflammation has become the devil to many athletes, but in truth, inflammation is a part of that natural healing process, and our body swells up for a reason. It builds an original cast around injured areas to protect us from further damage.
Numbs The Pain
Pain numbing may sound like a good thing but here is why it is terrible. You start to convince yourself that you are healed and feeling much better than you are. Ice can often be like taking painkillers and then saying everything is doing much better. It is just serving as a masking agent to the pain.
The reason athletes become addicted to the ice is because it is almost the perfect temporary solution.
- It makes you feel better
- It is cheap
- You can travel with it
- Ice is easy to apply multiple times a day
- It requires zero effort on your part
- It needs zero assistance
Ice has all of these awesome things about it besides the fact of actually getting you healthy and back on the field.
Fix The Root Cause of Injury
If you get headaches every day and take medication daily, are you fixing the symptoms or are you fixing the cause? If you guessed the signs, you are correct! Maybe you get headaches because your upper back and neck muscles are so tight. No amount of medication will fix what a massage therapist can do for you in this case. What the medicine will do is make the pain go away.
Athletes apply this logic to injuries on a regular basis. The mindset becomes let me do whatever I can do to make this pain go away. If you hamstring hurts, you tape it and ice it, but neither of those is fixing the cause, which could be tight hips from sitting down all day for example.
What is The Right Way to Handle Injuries?
What if Ice Is Not Working?
Sometimes you can ice all you want, but a muscle is in pain because another area is not working or because it is protecting you. With the hips, for example, your back may be hurting because your psoas is doing too much work and it is also tight. The psoas may be doing too much work because your other hip flexors are not activating properly. The chain reaction could keep going.
Sometimes you need the help of a sports medicine provider. Sports medicine providers are used to working with athletes that need to get results quickly, to get back on the field. If you are not an athlete, I am sure that you still want quick results.
There are many different options you can go with when looking for a provider. You could get a chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist or many other options. The key is finding someone you trust and that you are excited to work with.
How to Find The Best Healthcare Providers
9INE POINT Health is the best place to find the health care providers you need for any injuries. It does not matter where you are hurting; a 9INE POINT Health provider will be able to get you healthy again. 9INE POINT allows you to find the best local providers and compare them quickly using the 9INE POINT Number.
If you have no idea what you need, but you know you need something, 9INE POINT Health is an injury guide and you will get helped through the process. We make it easier for you to find the information and the person you are looking for to help with you hamstring injuries.
KHO Health was acquired by was acquire by 9INE POINT in the summer of 2019 and is now referred to as 9INE POINT Health.