Q Why does icing reduce swelling?
Whether to treat acute injuries, which are traumatic and happen suddenly, or chronic pain from injuries that develop over slowly over time, the RICE protocol is a first line of defense. This involves rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Icing is a crucial element of this treatment because it reduces swelling. When ice is applied to the site of an injury, it acts as a constricting agent. This causes the surrounding blood vessels to narrow and limits internal bleeding, which then reduces swelling. It is important to remember, though, that blood flow is the body’s natural response to help with healing, so icing should only be used for short periods of time. Always apply the ice on top of a cloth, not directly to the skin, and ice for 10 minutes on, then 30 minutes off.
For more information or if you are in need of treatment for an injury, call Dr. Harvey Danciger at our office in Palm Desert, CA at (760) 568-0108.