Holistic Natural Health Experts

Is cold Therapy good for treating sports injuries?

In general, there is a persistent flawed concept that assumes that using cold therapy is the first reflex in case of injuries or pain (except wounds).

This concept is based on the idea that cold is a natural painkiller and a healthy curative tool for many injuries, especially sports injuries.

Unfortunately, this is simply not true.

Cold is not an all-purpose tool that we can use as we, please. On the contrary, if used improperly, cold can delay healing and weaken our tissues in the long run.

Why is cold therapy effective?

The big idea behind the benefits of cold is that cold is a natural painkiller.

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This statement is so evident for so many people that they don’t even question it. Pain equals running to the freezer to get an ice pack and put it on the painful area.

The only problem is that when they apply cold, and the pain diminishes, they think they are treating the pain while just experiencing a temporary anesthetic effect.

Cold is not a painkiller. In reality, cold is an anesthetic. This means that it will momentarily suppress the sensations, notably that of pain.

Someone could argue and say, what does it change ultimately? Anesthetic or not, it works, right? When I apply cold, I feel less pain; therefore, it is all that matters, right?

Well, no, and thinking like that is not a good strategy for health-related issues in general.

As cold is an anesthetic, it will not treat pain, it will only momentarily block the feeling of it.

For this reason, cold is used in surgery as an external anesthetic (cryoanesthesia) for certain medical procedures such as a lumbar puncture.

The thing is that, like any anesthetic, it doesn’t treat the pain, and when the effects are wearing off, the pain comes back until the causes of the pain are resolved.

Therefore, many people use cold daily for chronic pain, like a symptomatic treatment, constantly seeking momentary pain release

Another common thinking is that cold has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is true. But again, cold will not treat the causes of inflammation, and therefore, we come back to the symptomatic treatment that will not solve the problem but momentarily release it.

Possible adverse effects of cold therapy

If the only problem with constantly using cold to release pain was that it does not treat the cause of the pain, we could say that it’s not so problematic to abuse the use of cold, but it isn’t.

By regularly applying cold on a painful area of your body, you might suffer from the following cold abuse effects:

  • Aggravating the causes of the pain (depending on the cause)
  • Slowing down the healing process
  • Chronicising the pain
  • In the long run, weakening the tissue and increasing the chances of injuries

As you can see, this symptomatic cold treatment can turn against you and become the cause of chronic pain and weakened tissues.

This is why, in general, symptomatic treatments are never a good idea except if we use them only as an emergency solution meanwhile, we can plan the appropriate solutions.

Cold immersion methods 

What we said above about cold is not to be confused with cold immersion methods.

It is totally different to run to the freezer to get an ice pack and put it on a painful area or to practice cold shower, ice bath, or cold water swimming.

Cold immersion methods can have great use depending on the situation and have their own sets of pros and cons.

As always, it will depend on many factors:

  • The type of cold immersion
  • The person’s health situation
  • The desired goal to achieve
  • The conditions of practice
  • etc.

The best solution to treat sports injuries

The best solution to treat sports injuries is to consult a holistic natural health expert. This will make you win precious time and avoid many mistakes, starting with those symptomatic treatments like cold treatment on painful body areas.

A holistic natural health expert will start by making a global assessment of your health, then identifying the causes of the injuries to apply the appropriate treatment solutions.

He will also be able to build you a long-term strategy to durably treat sports injuries while improving the health of your tissues, increasing your understanding of what causes them and how you can lower the risk of having them.

Finally, you will not only get an appropriate solution, personalized to your need, but you will also improve your health in general and acquire more useful knowledge about your body.

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