Is compression the new ice?

Chiropractor and rehab therapist Robert Griffiths discusses a new way to deal with running injuries


What should you do immediately after an injury? Rest? Use an ice pack? Take some anti-inflammatory medication?

Most people are familiar with the acronym RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) when dealing with acute injuries. However, recent research has suggested that ice could actually delay healing and extend your recovery period.

When we injure our muscles, tendons or ligaments, micro-bleeding occurs in the local area. Only once this bleeding has stopped, does our body go into the next stage of actually repairing the tissues. Research has proven that using ice can actually increase the time it takes for the bleeding to stop completely, therefore delaying the repair process.3

So what should we do instead? Well, the answer isn’t far away. Compression is the quickest and easiest way to stop something bleeding. If you cut your finger, you put pressure on the wound, not ice. So the same thing applies to soft-tissue injuries: apply compression first, as this allows clotting to occur and bleeding to stop asap.

The easiest way to compress an injured area is to wrap the region in a voodoo floss band as soon as possible. Wrap the painful area for 2 minutes and elevate the area. Repeat this three times.

Robert Griffiths is a chiropractor and rehab therapist with a keen interest in running


Robert Griffiths

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