Physical Therapy and Ice Massage
How does ice massage therapy provide pain relief?
Ice massages can help provide relief for sore joints and muscles in a number of ways, including:
Ice application slows the inflammation and swelling that occurs after injury. Most pain is accompanied by some type of inflammation, and addressing the inflammation helps reduce the pain.
Ice massage therapy numbs sore tissues (providing pain relief like a local anesthetic).
Ice massage therapy slows the nerve impulses in the area, which interrupts the pain-spasm reaction between the nerves.
Ice massage therapy decreases tissue damage.
When does ice massage therapy work the best?
Ice massage therapy is most effective if it is applied as soon as possible after the injury occurs. The cold makes the veins in the tissue contract, reducing circulation. Once the cold is removed, the veins overcompensate and dilate and blood rushes into the area. The blood brings with it the necessary nutrients to allow the injured muscles, ligaments and tendons to heal.
Ice Massage Guidelines:
You can use an ice cube, but it's easier to use an "ice cup" for ice massage.
To make an ice cup, fill a small paper or Styrofoam cup about two-thirds full, and freeze it until it is solid.
To use the ice cup, peel off the top of the cup so about 0.5 in. of ice is showing. The remaining part of the cup is for you to hold on to.
Ice- Massage Video Demonstration
Keep the ice cup moving (to avoid an ice burn)!
As the ice melts, it will drip, so put a small towel under the area you are icing.
Rub the ice in small circles all over the affected area. Avoid going directly over areas where the bone is close to the skin, such as right over your knee cap, the point of your elbow, or your spine. Try to work just around these bony areas to target the joint space.
If the ice melts down so the cup is touching your skin, peel more of the cup off.
Continue for only 5 to 7 minutes. The area will feel cold at first, then it will ache, then finally become numb. Your skin will be pink and cold when you finish.
You can do an ice massage several times a day if it helps you.
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