If you’re an athlete who incurs an occasional is injury, consider these three facts next time you decide not to reach for the ice pack.
1. It Really Works
Applying cold to an injury produces two important effects. It helps relieve pain, and it reduces swelling. Cold slows down nerve activity, which creates a numbing effect and reduces the sensation of pain. It also does it without any of the side effects that prescription or OTC medications might cause.
Cryotherapy also helps reduce swelling and slows down cellular metabolism, which allows your body to heal faster. Excess swelling can impede the healing process and also contributes to uncomfortable pressure pain. Slower cellular metabolism means less cell death and therefore less tissue for the body to repair.
2. It Takes More Than One Application
Every athlete knows that he or she is supposed to apply cold right after an injury occurs. However, all too often this is the only time that athletes do it. Successful application of cryotherapy requires multiple sessions for several days for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. While this might be inconvenient, it is a small commitment to make for athletes who want to get back to their normal routine as fast as possible.
Cryotherapy can also be used for the duration of the injury-recovery period, not just for the first couple of days after being hurt. Many athletes also like to use cryotherapy after practices or games so that sore muscles recover more quickly.
3. It Doesn’t Have to be Uncomfortable
Ice baths are some athletes’ worst nightmares. Even holding an ice pack in the same spot becomes tedious, especially if you need to use your hands for other activities. At Sports Recovery Annex, our Certified Athletic Trainers customize a plan that is right for you.