Please feel free to read this blog and join in. I hope you will write something inspirational, inspiring, spiritual, controversial, amusing, engaging or just plain run of the mill. But please don't be brusque, churlish or licentious.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Warm vs Cold

This is off the subject of pure awareness but I feel like writing about a subject that has bugged me for some time now. Whenever someone pulls a muscle they almost always put ice on the injured area to alleviate pain and swelling, but it has been my practice over the years to do the opposite. Years ago I used ice but for the last 15 years I have used warmth.

It is my contention that pulls, strains, and sprains need to be flooded with a fresh new supply of blood, nutrients, water, and oxygen to the damaged tissues as soon as possible and for as long as possible, until complete healing has occurred. Putting ice on living tissue relieves pain but it also constricts blood vessels that supply necessary nutrients to the tissue. Ice also causes the tissue to become inflexible and subject to more damage. For example, if you take a rubber stick and place it in ice it becomes hard and brittle and will break easily. But if you place the stick in a warm bath it becomes limber and supple. The same is true for muscles, tendons, and ligaments. 

Damaged tissues release large amounts of sodium, calcium, potassium, and phosphate ions as well as creatine kinase and uric acid from the breakdown of purines and DNA.  Inflammation is the result of all these toxins flooding into the damaged tissues. It is important to get these byproducts out of the cells as quickly as possible. Putting ice on the area will only prolong their stay. Not only that, white blood cells, especially neutrophiles, enter the damaged tissues to try and defend against foreign invaders. In doing so they release reactive oxygen which can further cause swelling and further compromise blood supply to the area.  

When I pull a muscle, tendon or ligament I quickly put something warm on the area, rest it for a couple of days and take an anti-inflammatory, like ibuprofen, during those two days. I wrap a warm heating pad around the damaged tissue for an hour before going to bed. I never sleep with a heating pad on the area because its impossible to regulate the temperature when asleep.  If it gets too hot it could damage the tissue even further. It is important to maintain a comfortable warmth on the damaged area. I also drink lots of water to help flush the kidneys. The kidneys are where the toxins from the damaged tissues end up. It is important to get the toxins out of the kidneys as quickly as possible.

After two days I continue keeping the damaged area warm but I begin to stretch and massage it as well. It is my belief that mild stretching and massaging help to increase the flow of water and nutrients (glucose, amino acids, and oxygen) into the tissues and pull out toxins (positive ions, uric acid, and creatine kinase).  I have done this first aid practice many times over the past 15 years, on myself, never anyone else, and I find that I heal much faster then when I used ice. 

No comments: