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Pain & Injury Survival Tips


Tips to help:

  • always warm up before exercise to prevent injury, and cool down and stretch afterwards.

  • Do not try to exercise through an injury.

  • Got an injury? R.I.C.E.- Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation- seek professional help asap.

  • Make sure you drink plenty of water while exercising and keep the muscles hydrated.

  • Have at least one rest day per week. This is when your body recovers and strengthens.


A quick guide that explains when to ice, when to heat, when not to, and why


There much is so confusion about this issue, and it’s a shame because icing and heating — cryotherapy and thermotherapy — are both worthwhile and inexpensive self-treatment options with minimal risks.


What ice and heat are for:


Ice is for injuries, and heat is for muscles.

Ice is for injuries — calming down damaged tissues that are inflamed, red, hot and swollen. The inflammatory process is a healthy, normal, natural process … that also happens to be incredibly painful. Icing is mostly just a mild, drugless way of controlling the pain of inflammation.

Application: Ice should be applied as soon as possible following injury. The application should be for 10 to 20 minutes and repeated every 2 waking hours over the acute and sub-acute stages until deemed no longer necessary , usually for 72 hours. It can be delivered using crushed ice , gel packs, cryocuff, frozen vegetable packs or ice baths.Safety factors: damp cloth or sleeve must be used to prevent burning of the skin, move the ice to limb,not limb to ice !

Contraindications: the elderly, cardiac problems, circulatory problems, Raynaud's disease, severe diabetes, radiotherapy/ chemotherapy, hypersensitivity.


Heat is for muscles  taking the edge off the pain of whole muscle spasms and trigger points (localized spasms, or muscle knots ), and for easing psychological stress (which can be a major factor in many pain problems). Increase circulation, enhancing the supply of oxygenated blood to and the removal of waste produtcs from the area, enhancing local and general relaxation, it reduces blood pressure and gives pain relief. Used in the sub-acute 72 hours to 21 days post-injury and chronic stages 21 days to 2 years post-injury .


  • haemorrhage

  • inflammation

  • reduced skin sensation

  • dysfunctional circulatory system

  • deep vein thrombosis

  • certain skin conditions

  • Care must be taken as blood pressure lowers and to avoid burns through overuse or abnormal skin conditions.

Application: Heat should be applied at 40°C to 45°C for 5 to 30 minutes. Note that pregnant women should keep their baths to a maximum of about 37 °C - just barely above body tempature! Hot water bottle - tends to stay warm for 20 to 30 minutes, heated gel packs - may be microwaved, or sometimes heated in water, and tend to say warm for about 30 minutes. Certain types of gel packs provide moist heat, which some people prefer. Heat wraps - wraps around the lower back and waist and may be worn against the skin under clothing, providing convenience and several hours of low level of heat application. Hot bath, hot tub, sauna, steam bath - tend to stimulate general feelings of comfort and relaxation that may help reduce muscle spasm and pain. A whirlpool jet directed at the lower back may provide the added benefit of a light massage. Heat therapy is an easy and inexpensive option to provide relief from many forms of lower back pain.


Contrast bathing: This is the alternate application of cold and heat to stimulate vasoconstriction and vasodilation, excellent stimulus to support soft tissue repair . Cold in the range of 12 °C to 15 °C and hot in the range of 37°C to 43°C.

Application: showers: 1 to 2 minutes hot , then 10 to 30 seconds cold, repeated 3 times. Bath 3 to 4 minutes hot then 30 to 60 seconds cold , repeated 3 times.


What ice and heat are not for:

Heat can make inflammation worse, and ice can make muscle spasms worse, so they have the potential to do some mild harm when mixed up. And both are either pointless or harmful when unwanted: icing when you already feel shivering, or heating when your already sweating. The brain may interpret an excess of either one as a threat — and when brains think there’s a threat, they may also pump up the pain. But heat and inflammation are a particularly bad combination. If you add heat to an fresh injury, watch out: it’s going to get worse! The lesser known threat is from icing at the wrong time, or when it’s unwanted.

If you ice painful muscles, watch out: it’s probably going to get worse! Ice can aggravate muscle spasms and trigger points, which are often present in low back and neck pain — the very condition people often try to treat with ice. Severe spasm and trigger points can be spectacularly painful, like knife wounds, and are easily mistaken for “iceable” injury and inflammation. But if you ice these tissues, the muscles are likely to contract even harder, and the trigger points burn and ache even more acutely. This mistake is made particularly often with low back pain and neck pain.


What about injured muscle?

If you’re supposed to ice injuries, but not muscles, what do you with injured muscles (a muscle tear or muscle strain)?

That can be a tough call, but ice usually wins — but only for the first few days at most, and only if it really is a true muscle injury. A true muscle injury almost always involves severe, sudden pain. If the muscle is truly torn, then use ice to bring down the inflammation. Once the worst is over, switch to heat.


Which is better?

Ice packs and heating pads are not especially powerful medicine: experiments have shown that both have only mild benefits, and those benefits are roughly equal.The bottom line is: use whatever feels best to you!

Your own preference is the tie-breaker and probably the most important consideration. For instance, heat cannot help if you already feel unpleasantly flushed and don’t want to be heated. And ice is unlikely to be effective if you have a chill and hate the idea of being iced!

If you start to use one and you don’t like the feel of it … just switch to the other.


Combine a hot bath with stretch

Stretching is not generally as useful as most people , but it’s not useless either. Stretching might be effective for relieving muscular aches and pains, possibly because it helps trigger points.But it’s not exactly guaranteed to work miracles — lots of people fail to get rid of muscle knots just by stretching.

Regardless, doing it in a hot bath probably improves the odds of success: Baseline muscle tone drops when you’re happy and warm. The bath softens connective tissue through “thixotropic” effect, very much like softening plastic with heat. It may ease the neurological vicious cycle that powers trigger points. Extensive evidence suggests that increases in flexibility from stretching are the result of reduction of inhibition, not a change in the physical condition of tissue. But the heat of the bath is probably helpful either way. The buoyancy of the bath makes some stretches physically easier and more relaxing. If you’re going to stretch, then stretch in the bath or in pool.


Combine a hot bath with self-massage

A bath is a great place to do a little self-massage, perhaps to “release” muscle knots (trigger points). And the perfect method: bring a ball into the bath with you and trap it under your body to apply pressure to stiff and aching muscles. I call this “the bath trick,” because it’s such an amazing combination of therapeutic factors. The bath trick works particularly well because the pressure you apply to your muscles is easy to control. The Bath Trick Run a hot bath, and trap a ball between your body and the bottom or back of the tub to rub your back muscles — your buoyancy allows for excellent control over moderate pressures. In standard “tennis ball massage,” often people find that the full weight of their body trapping a tennis ball against the floor is simply too much — the pressure is too intense, and they’re unable to achieve a relieving sensation. But in the bath, you are much lighter! You have much better control and a moderate intensity of pressure.While the heat relaxes you, your bouyancy in the water allows finely tuned control over moderate pressure on your trigger points. Applying a little more or less pressure is as simple as rising up in the water a little, or submerging more of yourself.

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