How Long Should You Ice an Injury?


“Put some ice on that.”

This advice might sound familiar, especially when dealing with pain and injury. Frequently, ice is used as the key ingredient to reduce inflammation. RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is the well-known recipe for treating muscle strains, sprains, and other acute injuries. However, misused icepacks might inhibit the natural healing process.

Ice has been a standard treatment for injuries and sore muscles because it effectively relieves the pain and swelling caused by damaged tissue. But inflammation is actually a natural response to injury and serves an important purpose in the healing process.

Localized inflammation dilates the blood vessels, allowing white blood cells to easily travel into the injured area. This increased blood flow promotes healing as the blood transports the nutrients necessary to create new tissue and carries away waste from the damaged area.

While icing an injury decreases inflammation and pain, it can also reduce blood flow. If ice remains on the affected area too long, it will ultimately slow down the healing process. Without adequate blood flow, waste remains in the damaged area, joints become stiff, and scar tissue forms.

Ice used in an on-off pattern can bring fresh blood to the area and then send it away repeatedly. Ice an injury for ten minutes, and then take a ten-minute break. This pattern will both decrease inflammation and support the healing process of transporting nutrients to the injury and carrying away wastes.

DOCTOR HOY’S™ Hot/Cold Therapy Packs can be used hot or cold. They are reusable, durable, and non-toxic. These therapy packs remain flexible when frozen, allowing individuals to target specific injuries and use in braces. This product compliments DOCTOR HOY’S™ Natural Pain Relief Gel or Arnica Boost! Notice the four different available sizes: 6×10, 9×12, and 10×15. 

The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.  Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

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