For years, common wisdom has told us to apply ice to injuries and sore muscles. The acronym, RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), originally coined by Gabe Mirkin, has been a staple of first aid training especially for athletes. With mounting evidence, however, the shift to better therapies for more rapid injury recovery has begun. Dr. Mirkin now warns that ice may do more harm than good.
Here’s a summary of recent scientific findings:
- Ice can delay healing.
- Ice can increase swelling, worsening injury.
- Ice numbs pain, which can give a false sense of health, which may lead to further injury.
- While muscles are cold, they can be weaker.
- While muscles are cold, they can be less coordinated.
- While muscles, ligaments, and tendons are cold, they are less flexible.