Mailvox: Ice is not nice

Another old medical standby is vaporized by the evidence:

As the official old guy, you might be interested that what we were always taught to ice injuries and use the RICE protocol turns out to be as accurate advice as a low-fat high-grain diet or clear soda and crackers for a cold.

Just recently discovered this myself through this article.

The inventor of the RICE protocol has even admitted he was wrong.  From the forward to Gary Reinl’s book, ICED!  The Illusionary Treatment Option

Almost 40 years ago, I coined the term RICE (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.) as the treatment for acute sports injures (The Sportsmedicine Book, 1978, page 94).  Subsequent research shows that rest and ice can actually delay recovery.  Mild movement helps tissue to heal faster, and the application of cold suppresses the immune responses that start and hasten recovery.  Icing does help suppress pain, but athletes are usually far more interested in returning as quickly as possible to the playing field.  So, today, RICE is not the preferred treatment for acute athletic injury.

– Dr. Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

Another example of something that makes perfect sense when you stop and think about it, but I never did because literally everyone my whole life told me use RICE for injuries.  And of course I advised others the same way.

I never iced anything but a badly sprained ankle, but mostly because I simply didn’t like icing. And I figured out very quickly on that the best way to avoid post-exercise stiffness was a) a hot shower, b) movement, and c) stretching. While we had ice baths on the university track team, I never once took one. I mean, why would you ever get in an ice bath when they’ve got perfectly good jacuzzis next door?