As we get ready for the summer months where activity increases, let’s take some time to talk about helpful tips to keep you active.
When should I apply ice to an injury?
Ice is appropriate for an acute injury to help reduce the pain and some of the inflamed tissues. It is not required however to ice as ice is really only reducing the symptoms associated with the injury. If you choose to ice then applications should be done with 10 minutes’ intervals with 20 minutes off, then repeat. It is recommended that icing not continue past 6 hours of the initial injury. Long term icing reduces healing times and prevents the ideal inflammatory response needed to repair injured tissue.
What about NSAID medications? (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
NSAIDs such as Naproxen, Ibuprofen, Aspirin will reduce the inflammation and take away the pain. However, they also slow healing down and have been shown to be associated with deterioration of tissue structures with long term use (over 2 weeks). This creates instability and often causes more chronic pain issues in the future.
What else can I use that won’t shut down the required inflammation for healing?
A medication that can be used is Tylenol (Acetaminophen), though it does need to be used sparingly as it does reduce the liver’s production of a very strong and protective anti-oxidant called glutathione. Other agents that act as inflammation modulators include curcumin, bromelain, boswellia, and enzymes. These do provide relief and don’t totally shut down the health inflammation needed for repair.