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The Rules of Ice Compression Therapy for Athletic Recovery 10 / 9 / 2012

For years, sports injury professionals have advocated the use of the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method for athletic recovery, and ice compression therapy makes an even more effective solution by combining the “I” and the “C” of the technique.

In the original R.I.C.E. method, ice is used to both stop pain and restrict swelling, while compression helps to further reduce the risk of swelling. Cold compression also reduces pain and swelling, but more effectively than using ice and compression separately.

Here are few rules to follow when using ice compression for muscle recovery.

Rule Number One: Understand How Ice Compression Works

Inflammation occurs when excess blood and fluid build up around the injury. Cold compression therapy restricts blood vessels in the area, resulting in the slowing of the metabolism of the cells. This results in the lowered need of oxygen and nutrients, as well as a slower rate of cell death and reduced inflammation.

Rule Number Two: Choose the Best Compression Wrap

In the past, R.I.C.E. consisted of placing a bag of crushed ice (or frozen peas) on the injured area, and then later wrapping the area with a elastic bandage. When ice began to melt, compression was severely decreased.

Hyperice compression wraps are designed specifically with a release valve to aid in continual compression therapy. 

Rule Number Three: Follow the Instructions

The final rule is to be sure to follow any instructions included with the compression wrap as well as the instructions of a physician. Using ice compression methods as directed along with the care of a certified trainer or physician can lead to less pain and a more rapid recovery.

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