In what may truly be a breakthrough (the most over-worked word from academic PR people) a recent new animal study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology concluded that “icing alters the molecular environment inside injured muscles in detrimental ways, slowing healing.”
In English, this means that in this study, post-injury icing slowed the recovery of muscle fibres in mice, at any rate, but if this can also be true in humans – and it very well might be – the old standard treatment for a muscle (or any inflammatory) injury to ice it, ice it, ice it may have to be discarded, not only because it doesn’t help (as millions of us have found out when we tried to heal our tired, overworked post-workout muscle soreness with ice packs) but also because the application of ice to injured muscle tissue may even be counter-productive to recovery, if this study is to be believed, which I think it should be.
Of couse, it’s always important to remind yourself that mice are not men or women (or whatever) so if you truly believe that icing is what gets you to recover more quickly post-injury, keep applying those ice packs.
As for me, I’ll give it a pass from now on and go back to my previously-2nd favorite injury-recovery strategy, namely nice hot (frequent) baths.
Much more pleasant.