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Icing your sore muscles? May not be the best choice….

Think ICE is the best for sore or achy muscles…think again!

If you are a patient of mine, you know that I am always encouraging my patients to incorporate heat into their nightly routine for any sort of tight muscle or knot (as long as it is not an acute injury). According to Chinese medicine, everything we need to heal is in the blood and ice/cold restricts blood flow therefore increasing healing time. However, if there is an immediate injury with lots of swelling using the acronym RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) can help to bring down acute inflammation. According to a recent study on the effect of ice on muscles, they found no discernible benefits from icing. Although icing was quite effective at numbing soreness, it actually significantly reduced muscle strength and power for up to 15 minutes after the icing had ended! In fact it tended to lessen fine motor coordination.

To read the abstract from the NIH regarding ice and achy muscles click here. If you are suffering from sore achy muscles, try switching to heat and coming in for some acupuncture to speed up healing.