APR 19, 2017 4:03 PM PDT

What Does Ice Do For an Injury?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Whether it's a bruise, sprain, or strain, a common recommendation is to apply ice or a cold pack to the site of injury. Aside from mildly numbing the pain, does ice do anything for your injury at the molecular level?

As it turns out, icing an injury is an effective way to control the inflammation process that's happening underneath your skin following an injury. The cold temperature constricts the blood flow to the area, decreases swelling, and also decreases secondary cell death associated with the injury. When you put ice on an injury, you are almost literally putting out a fire that's brewing in the body. As a result, the healing process may be more manageable than if you had done nothing at all.

Watch the video to learn more. And when in doubt, remember to R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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