Having a sore muscle can be very painful at times.The first solution that comes to everyone's mind is to apply ice to the area. Ice can feel good, but there are certain situations where you should not be icing sore muscles. Continue reading to find out if it good to ice sore muscles.
Cold therapy is also known as cryotherapy. It can reduce blood flow and inflammation to an injured area. It can also stop an area from swelling. Ice treatments can act as a form of anesthetic and numb pain for a short period of time. It is most effective within a 48 hour period of a given injury. It mostly helps when areas are hot, red, and swollen. Heat can actually worsen inflammation and aggravate sore muscles. An effective method for healing sore muscles with ice is called R.I.C.E. - rest, ice, compression, and elevate.
Types Of Cold Therapy
There are various methods of cold therapy that can help treat an injury. A cold compress or chemical ice pack can be applied for 20 minutes to the area every 4-6 hours. A chemical ice pack is also known as an instant cold pack. This bag is filled with ammonium nitrate or calcium ammonium nitrate and water. Normally you need to crush the bag for the two products to activate. Once they do, the bag becomes cold. You can also place a damp towel in a plastic bag and place in the freezer for a few minutes. After you have taken the the bag out the freezer, remove the towel and place on the painful area. Another homemade method for creating an ice pack is using a plastic bag, filling it with dishwasher detergent, and placing it in the freezer. This gives the bag the consistency of gel wrap, which can be purchased from a store. There are some machines which you can purchase for specific parts of the body. These may become a bit more pricey.
When Not To Use Ice
Ice should not be used when the person is at risk for cramping, already numb and cold or hypertensive, or has an opened wound. If you are someone who suffers from poor circulation, you should not use ice as it reduces the blood flow even more. When using ice, you should not apply it directly to the skin because the tissue can become damaged or attract frost bite in worse cases. Ice should also not be used for back pain. Odds are that the pain is not new and is deep under the tissue where the ice will not reach. Back pain is often related to muscle tension, which will be aggravated if it comes into contact with ice. Heat is the most effective option for back pain.