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From the Intrepid Vault: “Ice, Ice, Baby”

By Sean | In Recovery | on April 28, 2012

In the Coaches’ office we now have a deep freezer where ice cups and cold packs are located.  Should you feel banged up after a workout, feel free to grab one and ice right away before the inflammation gets worse.  Read on to learn the best way to use the ice cup.

With all the hard work we put in at Intrepid, our muscles, joints, and bodies tend to get a little banged up. When you mention you shoulder, knee, wrist, elbow, or [fill in the blank here] hurts, one of the first things we typically ask you to do is to ice the affected area. I think for every 10 times we mention it, 1 of you may actually do it.

To simplify and expedite the icing process check out this CrossFit Invictus post about Ice massage. Here’s the skinny:

  1. Fill your foam cup with water until it is almost full. You’ll want to leave some room for the expansion of ice.
  2. Place the cup in your freezer overnight or until the ice is solid
  3. Peel away the foam cup to expose the ice
  4. Keeping the ice moving, massage the affected area in small circles for 5 to 7 minutes. You can use a towel to clean up as the ice melts

The advantages are numerous, and according to Jointhealing.com icing decreases the flow of fluid into the injured tissues and slows the release of chemicals that cause pain and inflammation. Cold decreases feeling in an area by reducing the ability of the nerve endings to conduct impulses. It may also reduce pain by “countering” the injury. For example, you might counter the pain of a sore tooth by pinching yourself hard in the leg. Cold also decreases the activity of cells to reduce swelling and internal bleeding at the site of acute injury. Cooling the deep tissue also reduces muscle spasm by reducing the muscle’s ability to maintain a contraction (contractility). Because cold reduces bleeding and swelling within injured tissue, it is best used in the first 48 hours after an injury and usually longer after a surgery. Ice massage gets the tissue to the same cold temperature as a simple bag of ice, but does it 3-4 times more quickly. Take a few minutes and freeze a few cups so when you get a pinch in your shoulder or your shins are hurting the ice cup is ready to go as soon as you get home. It’s the least you can do after you beat up your body.

Further Reading:

WOD 4.28.12

6-8 40 yd Prowler Pushes
Yoke Carries
Tabata Sledgehammer Strikes

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