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Is R.I.C.E. All Wrong?

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By Jim Thornton (life.spartan.com)

It’s the most famous acronym in sports medicine, a household term as familiar to athletes as the physicians who treat them: R.I.C.E., for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Legendary sports doc, Gabe Mirkin, M.D., coined R.I.C.E. in his 1978 bestseller, The Sportsmedicine Book. In the four decades since, his memorable protocol—especially the ice and rest components—have become an article of faith among wounded warriors everywhere.

Tweak your ankle, throw out your back, strain your rotator cuff, or upset any other soft tissue during exercise? R.I.C.E. it right away! If no ice bag is available, slap a bag of frozen vegetables onto your aggrieved part. By icing an injury within the first golden hour of sustaining it, you’re virtually guaranteed of not only reducing pain but speeding recovery. Ditto for rest—taking time off to let things settle down will prevent further damage and also expedite healing. Everybody knows this, right?

But what if R.I.C.E. is wrong?    ....

 

“Nearly everyone who ices today,” says veteran athletic trainer Gary Reinl, “believes they’re doing it to prevent inflammation, reduce swelling, and control pain. But here’s the problem: Icing doesn’t prevent inflammation or swelling; it only delays it. Once tissues rewarm, the inflammatory process resumes and your body’s innate intelligence sends the correct amount of fluid to the damage site. Although icing can provide temporary pain relief, numbing just shuts off protective signals that alert you to harmful movement. And the Journal of Athletic Medicine Research recently showed that icing actually kills muscle cells.”  READ MORE

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