Why Ice?

Have you ever sprained an ankle?  The resultant swelling and pain are consequences of muscle strain,  joint irritation, ligament injury and blood vessel damage.  What’s the first thing you do? Hopefully, you answer R.I.C.E.  That is rest, ice, compression and elevation.  All of these are designed to help limit inflammation, decrease swelling and promote healing.

Now, let’s expand our thinking above the ankle.  Spinal joints become inflamed and swollen when traumatized.  Trauma in this sense can be an acute injuty or chronic postural stresses.  Both lead to subluxation, abnormal joint mechanics and inflammation.

The small spinal joints are in such close proximity to spinal nerves that once inflamed, they can swell to such an extent that they put pressure on delicate nerve roots.  This leads to local pain and often to pain and/or problems in other areas of the body.

So what’s the first thing you do with inflamed spinal joints?   Right, put ice on them.  In doing so, you will cut days to weeks off your recovery time and limit future disability.  Also, always put the ice in a pillow case, to avoid freezer burn to the skin.  Ice usage is usually 20 min on each hour until pain subsides, then  1-2 x a day, especially on the day of an adjustment.  If  when you ice you feel chilly elsewhere,  put heat on your feet,  that will warm the rest of you up while icing the injured area.   Also,  if you do use heat on the injured area,  keep it to 20 min  to avoid causing further swelling of the area.  Any other questions always feel free to call.