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There is more to icing an injury than most people would think. If you want to heal an injury in the quickest and most efficient way possible, you should learn what ice does for the body and how it helps. You also need to know how it can make an injury worse if applied incorrectly.
Ice is meant to help with pain and reduce the increased blood flow after an injury that causes swelling.
Make sure you do not place ice directly over a nerve. This can cause permanent damage to the nerve and leave you with much larger problems. Refer to some first aid videos online that explain where nerves are located in the area you have hurt so you can avoid this.
The ice must be evenly distributed. Do not place the bulk of it on one small area and ignore the surrounding areas. It is also important to keep a layer between the ice and your skin, like a towel, to avoid a “cold burn.”
Timing is very important with most injuries. Never apply ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. Doing so could actually increase pain and discomfort. It is fine to use ice several times throughout a day, but space the treatments out with about an hour or more in between.
After 72 hours you can switch to using heat to treat an injury. This will increase blood flow and nutrients which can heal the area and reduce inflammation. Make sure you do not use heat immediately after an injury, though. Heat should only be used after the icing period or for chronic conditions.