In many cases, temporary pain and even additional injury can be minimized and even avoided by a simple application of ice. Ice, applied in a timely manner and in an appropriate way, can reduce inflammation. Inflammation left unchecked can allow the source of the pain to continue doing damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other structures.

Ice should be applied to an injured area within the first three days of the injury. The application of ice to an injured area causes several physiological actions to take place. At first, the brain feels cold. It sends signals to the area to constrict the blood vessels, vasoconstriction. However, after a few minutes, the brain realizes that if it continues to cause vasoconstriction, the affected tissues will be deprived of blood for too long and start to die. Therefore, the brain tells the blood vessels to open back up, vasodilation. After several minutes, the brain realizes that vasoconsticiton is what's ordered so it allows the blood vessels to constrict and stay that way. However, after about 20 minutes, the brain doesn't care what is ordered, if it continues to vasoconstrict, the tissues will die, therefore, it causes vasodilation. This will imitate heat, which is what you don't want.

Ice causes the veins in the affected tissue area to constrict. This reduces the flow of blood while acting as kind of anesthetic to numb the pain. But when the ice is removed (and this is key), the veins compensate by expanding, which then allows a large volume of blood to rush to the affected area. The blood brings with it important chemicals that aid in the healing process.

Back and neck injuries frequently involve muscle sprains and strained ligaments, which can spasm and become inflamed.

Ice massage, or cryotherapy, is effectively used to treat many kinds of injuries, including those associated with back or neck pain.

Ice massage can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Assisting the body in minimizing tissue damage
  • Mitigating muscle spasms
  • Reducing or eliminating pain by numbing sore soft tissues

Ice therapy is not recommended as a form of treatment for any kinds of rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud's Syndrome (a circulatory disorder of blood vessels of the extremities), colds or allergic conditions, paralysis, or areas of impaired sensation.

Chiropractor - San Diego, Contemporary Health Care, 6612 Mission Gorge Rd, San Diego CA, 92120 619-282-8181