In light of the next Body and Nutrition Tune-Up Workshop being focused on how to tame chronic inflammation through proper nutrition and exercise/body care I thought I would share some information on the topic of how to deal with acute inflammation.

I bet you were taught the same thing that I was taught in every 1st aid course and even in athletic therapy courses over the years. We have all been taught to stop the inflammation of an injury or from overuse by applying the following phrasing: R.I.C.E. Which stands for Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. We were also encouraged to take anti-inflammatory meds.

Oh how this has been wrong! Even the physician who coined the RICE phrasing admits that the method does not work.

I am going to encourage you to take the time to watch a youtube video done by Dr. Kelly Starrett, who by the way, I flew out to Germany to be able to see him present live about state of the art information on the topic of mobility and proper body care. I certainly think that he is worth listening to!

Dr. Starrett discusses the hot topic of using ice as a strategy to deal with injuries or over-use. He clearly shows that icing and anti-inflammatory meds should never be part of your injury care.

When we get injured or over-use muscles our body responds in a natural way by creating a healing environment that involves inflammation. Inflammation is the result of an influx of greatly needed fluids/chemicals that can be compared to an awesome cleaning crew. We certainly do not want to stop the crew from doing their job by numbing them by icing or taking drugs!

It is now known that icing shuts off the signal between the muscles and the nerves and meds like Ibuprofen are even worse because they inhibit the signal for the beneficial inflammatory response.

The way to help the inflammation process to move on is to get it out of interstitial space and into the lymph drainage system. When we use ice or anti-inflammatories we can actually cause the fluid that is supposed to be moving out of the body to go back into local tissue causing a secondary inflammatory response, AKA more pain. Vicious circle!

So, what is the solution to optimize recovery you ask?

  • Don’t block the clean-up crew! We need to evacuate the swelling to heal faster and manage the pain.
  • De-congest the area with muscle activation to help accelerate the clearing of physiological waste through the lymphatic system. This can be done through electric muscle activators, massage therapy as well as self-massage and compression. Heat, rather than ice can accelerate the clearing process.
  • An active recovery is more effective than resting. Create as much range of motion as possible WITHOUT pain.

Continue to strive to be healthy from the inside and out!