I'm no hippie or homeopathic weirdo putting crystals on my wounds. It's more of a decision I've come to after reading a bunch of stuff on the internet... if it's on the internet, it has to be true! Seriously though, I've come to question many commonly held beliefs as they pertain to first aid of injuries. The Sock-Doc lays it out very well on his site, especially in his RICE article.
RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. I won't go into great detail with any of these, but I'll try to make my point. Why wouldn't I rest my ankle? Well, I'm not going to go out running, but moving it around will help get nutrients to injured areas that don't get a lot of blood flow. I don't think a caveman would sit on a rock in his cave until it was fully healed, he would starve to death.
Ice goes along with swelling. Is swelling a bad thing? Why does our body do it if it is bad? Sometimes swelling can get out of control, as can the pain from an injury, but similar to Rest, applying ice is only going to slow down the flow of resources to damaged area. It doesn't make sense to stop your body from doing what it's designed to do. Pain is just information, sometimes it's very important, sometimes it's useless. Treating pain at the expense of healing should be limited in my opinion.
Compression is applying pressure to the area of injury. I like to think of when an animal is licking a hurt paw or leg. A light, gentle rubbing of the area will help things move around. Squeezing the life out of it, stretching until it hurts, or deeply massaging it, will only make things worse. Just stimulate that movement of nutrients. I don't know how much it actually does, but it does help with the pain.
Elevation is not necessarily a bad thing either, especially if it feels good. But don't do it at the expense of active recovery or moving around a little. Sitting on my ass isn't going to help me any. Also, I don't know what effects it has on the delivery of healing materials, again, I don't picture many cavemen showing off their swollen ankles to the competition.
Pain is not the enemy, and it's not the problem. Sure, sometimes it's unbearable, but when we learn to understand what it's saying, we can learn a lot. I'm not yet fluent, but I can tell the difference between a significant pain and an insignificant one, in the exact same spot. I honestly don't know what's up with my ankle. It still hurts like a SOB, but wrapping it in ice will only make it feel better, it's not going to fix anything.
Ultimately, and I don't want to drag this on, but in our society I think there is a philosophy that says there is always something I can do, something I can buy, or someone I can see, to make a problem better. That might be true, but those messages are usually coming from somebody who makes a buck off of it. Don't automatically let your kids get "bite-wings", just because it's covered. It's your body, and you are honestly the only person in the whole world who truly cares about it.
I'm no doctor, so don't blindly follow what I say. Research this stuff and see for yourself what you think is right. I could be totally wrong after all, but this is the conclusion I've come to.
Feel free to leave a question or comment about this post!