Nov 29, 2019

To ice or not to ice?

Icing an injury is more likely to hinder than help recovery.

Doctors and physios have been insisting that reducing inflammation aids recovery from injured soft tissue since the 1970s. The acronym RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation was coined by Australian physician Dr Gabe Mirkin, but over the years, research has failed to show that inflammation inhibits healing.

In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. Inflammation actually prompts the release of a growth hormone IGI-1, which helps to repair damaged muscles. So, icing an injury is suppressing this important healing system. Ice can also reduce flexibility, and endurance, according to a statement from the RICE man himself, Dr Gabe Mirkin. “Cold and ice are safe pain medicines, but they delay healing,” he told the Australian press this week.

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